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< How many more weeks of winter? | Main | The Radiation Hold >

A couple of bloody bills

Posted at 12:25 PM on March 4, 2008 by Michael Marchio (2 Comments)

Politics, it's sometimes said, is a blood sport. SF2471 gives that maxim a whole new twist. Sponsored by Sen. Kathy Sheran (DFL-Mankato) the bill allows 16-year-olds, with written permission from their parents or guardians, to donate blood. The Senate passed the bill by voice vote this morning, and its companion HF1066 sponsored by Rep. Patti Fritz (DFL-Faribault) awaits its third reading on the House floor.

Under current law, people must be 17 years old to donate. The one extra year of eligibility provided by the bill might make more of a difference than you'd think. Blood drives held in high schools and on college campuses provide anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of the total supply, according to the American Red Cross. During summer, the supplies are often low, because school isn't in session and that whole pool of possible donors disappears for three months. The vast majority of donations, 80 percent, come from drives, either at schools, companies, churches, or military installations. Only 20 percent are collected at Red Cross donation centers.

An interesting fact I found from the Red Cross is that if you begin donating at age 17, and donate about every two months until the age of 76, it would total 48 gallons, and could save of 1,000 lives.

Another bill, SF3190, sponsored by Sen. Ann Rest (Currently our Power Rankings leader) and HF3494 by Rep. Gene Pelowski (DFL-Winona), would allow state employees 3 hours paid leave to donate blood each year. No committee hearings scheduled on that one yet, but I'll keep you posted.

Comments (2)

They should make sure to get people donating as soon as possible (medically safe, of course). Red Cross is screwing itself with their current guidelines. Anyone who has spent more than 6 months living outside of the USA since 1986 can't donate. With the amazing global nature of the workforce, anyone living overseas for a job, even if only periodically, can't donate.

I can donate the next time I'm in Germany, but I can't do it here? How dumb. I'm A+ and used to donate regularly. As of this past July, I can't donate anymore.

I'm in Public Health, but I do not subscribe to the validity (as in necessity) of these parameters they set. They (ARC) will eventually be confronted by the choice:

a) do we protect the public's health by actually getting enough people to donate, even if there's some probability of something bad happening -- or -- b) keep the current parameters and be incapable of having any blood to use?

Both of these options are going to adversely impact people. But option a is a statistical probability. b is a dead certainty.

We keep beating our breast about teaching our kids to be responsible adults. Bleed early ... bleed often.

Posted by GopherMPH | March 4, 2008 4:47 PM

Three years of living outside the USA since 1986 for military duty makes me ineligible to be a donor to the American Red Cross.

Posted by Nancy | March 6, 2008 12:29 AM