TAYLOR, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Donors who roll up their sleeves commonly give blood or platelets. But there’s another blood component that’s in high demand and extremely beneficial to patients who receive it.
Plasma is a critical ingredient so needed by patients suffering from life-threatening conditions and disorders. Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller visited a plasma donation center in Taylor that opened in February to see what’s behind the process.
“It’s very critical to the people that need it,” said CSL Plasma Center Manager Joe Korea. “It” is plasma which is the largest component of your blood that carries cells and proteins throughout the body. People who lack plasma suffer health problems ranging from hemophilia and immune deficiencies to respiratory disease and burn injuries. Plasma is even needed by organ transplant recipients. Mr. Korea said, “These are people that walk with you. You know, you just don’t understand that, you know, they’re plasma deprived, you know, they’re protein deprived.”
Unlike blood donations which most people are familiar with, that yellowish, platelet-rich plasma donation has a different twist. “We take your blood. We put it into a centrifuge and we split the cells. So, we’ll split it from the red blood cells into the liquid part which the liquid is the protein which we keep for our end. And then we return your red blood cells,” said Mr. Korea.
While whole blood donations take about a half-hour, plasma donations require more time according to Mr. Korea especially the first time you’re donating. “So you’re going to be here for approximately two hours. We do go through a strict screening process. We have videos, consent videos you need to watch.”
At centers like CSL Plasma, you’re compensated for your effort which is so critical to the health of the community. A donor in good health can give twice a week allowing at least 48 hours between donations. And how much is plasma in demand? Consider it takes 130 donations to treat one person with primary immune deficiency. “This is what they need to live a happy, healthy life,” said Mr. Korea.
The global demand for plasma is booming. The Taylor location is the first one for CSL Plasma in northeastern or central Pennsylvania. It plans to expand to other locations in the not-too-distant future.