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JBA supports the warfighter during COVID-19 with a blood drive

By Senior Airman Xiomara M. Martinez 11th Wing Public Affairs

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Approximately 34 people waited in line to donate blood for U.S. deployed forces at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 13.

The blood drive was held to collect blood in support of ongoing combat operations in-theater and patient care at military treatment facilities worldwide such as the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and the Malcolm Grow Medical Clinics and Surgery Center here.

“Donations to the Armed Services Blood Program from blood drives are the only source of plasma products for deployed members,” said Navy Lt. Kenneth Frati, ASBP National Capital Area director. “The blood is critical to direct combat support provided to warfighters from the point of injury through in-theater trauma hospitals and definitive care.”

Units of blood collected at the drive are transported back to the Armed Services Blood Bank Center and stored in specialized product refrigerators.

Additionally, each sample is tested for infectious diseases and manufactured into components.
These components are then sent downrange within three to four days. The remaining units are distributed to military treatment facilities the next day.

The ASBBC enhanced their infection control policy by screening all staff daily for symptoms of COVID-19. Staff screens donors for symptoms prior to entering the blood drive location and limits donations to appointments only to ensure physical distancing of donors in the interest of the safety of all donors and staff.

“The JBA community is actively supporting the ongoing care of COVID-19 patients who rely on blood products as part of their treatment, while still ensuring physical distancing through the active measures taken at the blood drive to guarantee the protection of givers and blood drive supervision,” said Frati.

Senior Airman Allan Stidham, 89th Communications Squadron global communications system administrator, felt honored to donate his blood.

“Due to my blood [type] being O negative, I feel like I can contribute to various people during these pandemic times,” said Stidham. “I always feel great when I donate because I feel like I am giving back to the community.”

Blood donations are critical for patients of all ages for many reasons. Ranging from cancer patients to those with battlefield injuries, military members and their families depend on blood donors every day. For more information about helping someone in need https://www.militaryblood.dod.mil/Donors/default.aspx.