Even though a blood plasma donation center is a little different from a traditional blood bank, there is the same critical need for its products.
Chuck Richard, vice president of operations for Immunotek Bio Centers, based in New Orleans, …
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Chuck Richard, vice president of operations for Immunotek Bio Centers, based in New Orleans, Louisiana, spoke Tuesday on his company's new blood plasma donation facility set to open June 19 at 236 S. Pike, next to Shoney's.
Plasma collected at an Immunotek center goes into making medications for critically ill people, Richard said.
"And there's only one source for that plasma, and that's plasma donors," Richard said. "So, it's just as vital to the health of our country as is blood donation; it's just a little different."
Unlike a unit of blood donation that can generally be transfused directly into a recipient, plasma requires further manufacturing. According to Richard, it takes a large volume of plasma to create a small amount of medication. That's one reason plasma donation is so critical, he said.
In plasma donation, only the plasma is collected from a donor.
"We're not really taking your blood at all," Richard said. "We're simply taking the plasma, and we're returning all red [blood] cells, which are critical to carry oxygen to your body."
Plasma is 90% water and 10% proteins, and those proteins are then manufactured into medications, he said.
The human body quickly replaces the water and proteins within 24 hours, according to Richard; therefore, it's safe to donate plasma twice in a seven-day period.
For blood donors, it takes longer for the body to recoup. A blood donor can donate once about every six weeks.
The plasma-donation process takes an hour to 90 minutes, Richard said, and donors are paid generally $25 to $45 per donation. Donors will be paid $50 for their first donations, he said. As they go through the process, donors can watch TV or movies that are being played.
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