A gift of blood is a gift of life. Six out of 10 people you know will need blood at some point in their lives. The demand for blood is constant. Although blood can be stored for up to 42 days, the supply rarely lasts for more than 10 days.
Each pint of blood can be separated into many components—red cells, plasma, platelets—and given to different patients with different needs. Your single donation may help as many as three people.
At the PIH Health Blood Donor Center, we depend upon the generosity of healthy volunteer donors. More than 50 percent of residents in our community qualify to be donors, yet only five percent give regularly. You can be one of our valued volunteers!
Donating Blood at PIH Health
Donating blood is safe and easy. The whole process takes about an hour.
You can donate blood every 56 days. Each donation removes approximately one pint of blood from the total of nine to 12 pints of blood in your body. Your body restores the donated pint within 24 hours, but it takes nearly two months to replace the red blood cells.
Your safety during donation is our top priority. All needles are sterile, used just once and disposed of properly. The only blood you’re exposed to is your own.
To donate blood, you must:
- Be 16 years of age or older
- Have a written permission slip—available in our Blood Donor Center—signed by a parent or legal guardian if you’re under age 17
- Be in good health
- Weigh more than 113 pounds
You should NOT donate blood if you have:
- A history of hepatitis
- Had cancer (except skin cancer) within the last year
- A chronic cough
- Chest pain or shortness of breath
- A high risk for HIV/AIDS
You will need to wait a while to donate blood if you:
- Are sick
- Had a recent tattoo or piercing
- Had dental surgery within the last 72 hours
- Are on certain medications
- Traveled within the last year to areas at risk for malaria
- Have low levels of red cells in your blood (hematocrit)
Review our frequently asked questions about blood donation.
If you have any questions about your ability to donate, talk with one of our Donor Center staff members.
How You Benefit
When you give blood, you’re donating something for which there is no substitute. You also benefit by:
- Learning your blood type
- Saving lives with blood transfusions
- Supporting your local hospital
- Giving back to your community
What to Expect
Before you donate, eat a nutritious meal and drink plenty of water. Be prepared to give an hour of your time. Bring a valid photo ID. Use the complimentary valet parking service at PIH Health Hospital – Whittier, and enter through the hospital’s Shannon Tower. You’ll be directed to the Blood Donor Center.
STEP 1 – Registration
You’ll fill out a medical history questionnaire.
STEP 2 – Mini Physical
Our staff member reviews your medical history to be sure you’re eligible to donate. We’ll check your temperature, blood pressure, pulse and the percentage red cells in your blood (hematocrit).
STEP 3 – Blood Donation
A trained staff member will collect about one pint of blood from your arm. This takes five to 10 minutes.
STEP 4 – Rest and Refreshments
You’ll spend about 15 minutes resting and enjoying juice and snacks.
Directed Donor Program
If you face a medical procedure that requires you to receive blood, you can take advantage of our Directed Donor Program. Relatives and friends can donate blood specifically for your benefit. To participate in the program, you must have either a scheduled surgery or a planned transfusion.
Contact the PIH Health Blood Donor Center to make arrangements before your procedure or to transfer Directed Donor blood units if your procedure will be performed at another hospital.
Self (Autologous) Donation
If you are scheduled for a surgery, you can bank your own blood ahead of time. This is called self (autologous) donation. Contact your doctor and the PIH Health Blood Donor Center before your procedure. Self-donated blood units also may be transferred to contracted hospitals.
PIH Health Mobile Blood Unit
The PIH Health Blood Mobile—a roomy, luxury motor coach—travels throughout the community to provide and support lifesaving blood drives. This donor center on wheels features five beds, two private rooms for taking a medical history and a comfortable lounge with flat-screen TV, DVD player and surround sound.
Learn more about our upcoming blood drives or how to host a blood drive at your community events or in your business, church or school. Call 562.789.5433 or email Darlene Garcia at Darlene.Garcia@PIHHealth.org.
More Ways to Donate Blood
The PIH Health Blood Donor Center offers two more ways for you to help save lives by donating blood: apheresis and double red cell collection.
Apheresis is a safe and sterile donation process that removes only a part of the blood. Typically, the focus is platelets, but the donation can also include blood cells and plasma. All items in the process are sterile, used just once and disposed of properly.
The process takes about two hours, including a medical history questionnaire and a medical screening. You’ll spend the rest of the time relaxing with a good book or movie. When the procedure is complete, refreshments are served. Your body is able to replenish donated platelets within three to five days.
Although fewer than one percent of eligible donors give platelets, you can donate platelets up to 24 times each year. Other time limits may apply if you also give red cells, plasma or a combination of blood products. Depending on your platelet count and body size, a single donation may support as many as three transfusions.
When you donate platelets, you’re helping cancer patients, open-heart surgery patients, transplant patients, accident victims and people with blood disorders. Platelets must be used within five days or discarded; they can’t be frozen. That means we’re careful to collect only what we feel we’ll need at a given time—and it’s why your donation helps save lives.
Beyond the standard guidelines for donating blood, you must meet these additional requirements for apheresis:
- No aspirin or aspirin-like products in the last 48 hours
- No more than four pregnancies
- Blood must be donated before donating platelets
- A blood draw before donation will determine if your platelet count qualifies
Double Red Cell Collection
The double red cell process lets us collect twice as many red blood cells than we can in a single whole blood donation. The process takes about an hour. You’re eligible for double red cell donation every 112 days or 16 weeks.
Many patients undergoing surgery require red blood cells. By donating, you can help more patients and prevent shortages in our community of the most needed blood types: O negative, O positive, A positive and B positive. To become a donor, you must:
- Be at least 17 years old
- Be in generally good health
- Have a 40 percent hematocrit (level of iron/red cells in your blood)
- Meet the qualifications for donating whole blood
- Meet weight and height guidelines
- Men: Weigh at least 175 pounds and be at least five-feet-five-inches tall
- Women: Weigh at least 150 pounds and be at least five-feet-one-inches tall
Host a Blood Drive in Your Community
Hosting a blood drive is rewarding for you, for the blood donors, and it helps our community. Whether you want to host a blood drive with your church, a social group, a community association or your place of business, we’ll help you.
Host a Blood Drive at Your High School
Your high school can be a partner with the PIH Health Blood Donor Center to host a student-run blood drive. Students learn valuable leadership skills while working with us to provide lifesaving blood to patients in need.
Helping You Host a Successful Event
PIH Health works with student associations or clubs to plan a blood drive event. We provide marketing materials to help promote your event and incentives for student participation, such as T-shirts or coupons. In addition, our professional recruitment team meets with students to:
- Identify a goal for the number of donations to be collected
- Choose a date and location
- Train students to help them recruit donors
How Students Benefit
In addition to having a real impact on your community by ensuring your donations help local patients at PIH Health, you’ll:
- Learn about the uses of donated blood in a medical setting
- Receive a card showing your blood type—with space to track your donations over time
- Be eligible to receive a special “honor cord” to wear at high school graduation
Honor Cord Program
The PIH Health Honor Cord Program recognizes high school students who make the choice to donate three pints of blood at their high school blood drives during senior year. In addition to receiving a special PIH Health honor cord to wear at graduation ceremonies, benefits include:
- Opportunities to lead by example
- Recognition for voluntary contributions
- Participation in a partnership with a nonprofit organization to achieve goals and support the community
- Support for patients at PIH Health through lifesaving donations
Students unable to give blood may still qualify for the honor cord by designating a family member to donate in their place.
Learn more about hosting a blood drive in your community or at your high school. Call 562.789.5433 or email Darlene Garcia at Darlene.Garcia@PIHHealth.org.
The PIH Health Blood Donor Center team includes many specialists—a physician medical director, registered nurses, phlebotomists and support staff. We work together to provide you with a safe and comfortable environment where you can give the gift of life.
Hours may vary when we participate in a community blood drive. Call before you stop in.
Late hour appointments are available, please call if you need a late appointment.