MEMPHIS, Tennessee – While the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is mostly known for the services it provides to others, the hospital also has work that allows people to directly impact the lives of their patients. One such way is through their blood donation bank which supplies much of the blood they use in their day to day work.
“It is something someone can give of themselves directly to the children,” said Karen Wimpee, a medical technologist at the hospital. “It saves their life. There is no substitute.”
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The hospital accepts both platelet and whole blood units. All of the donations stay inside the hospital. According to Wimpee, getting platelets from an outside provider can cost $600 for one unit, a whole blood unit would cost $250. That means procedures can get pricey, take for example a bone marrow transplant. They can typically require 20 units of whole blood and 120 units of platelets–$77,000 for blood alone.
For a hospital that is providing so much for families, it’s no surprise that people feel compelled to give of themselves to a need that is always growing.
“We have a daily need, so we’re always looking for more donors–and it’s just part of my job is to make sure that we always have the donors that we need,” said Wimpee.