New device at AAMC’s Blood Donor Center makes donating blood easier than ever

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Scott McRoy estimates he’s donated around five gallons of blood in the last 16 years.

The Crownsville man’s drive to donate began with the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He was in New York City when the attacks on the World Trade Center happened. When he returned to Maryland the next day, he was determined to give back.

So he started donating blood at Anne Arundel Medical Center’s Blood Donor Center.

He donates every two to three months, depending on whether he is giving blood or platelets. The donation process for platelets — tiny cells in the blood that form clots and stop bleeding —  is a longer process, taking at least two hours each time.

Still, “it’s a very simple give back,” says Scott, who is also an AAMC Foundation board member and a founding member of the Foundation’s Planned Giving Council.

“It takes a little bit of time, but you know it’s for a useful purpose,” he says.

Now, Scott and other loyal blood donors are finding it’s easier to give than ever before, thanks to AAMC’s Blood Donor Center’s new OrSense device.

This new machine eliminates the need for the traditional finger stick at the beginning of the donation process, which tests a donor’s hemoglobin levels. Instead, the donor places his or her finger into a ring-shaped sensor that measures hemoglobin levels and pulse rates.

The Blood Donor Center is the first location in Maryland to offer the technology.

“Blood donors often cite the finger stick as the most unpleasant part of the blood donation experience,” says Mike Misulich, blood donor recruitment coordinator. “The new OrSense device makes the finger stick a thing of the past. It improves the donor experience, eliminates discomfort, and makes the donation process more comfortable. We appreciate donors like Scott and want the donation experience to be the best for him and all of our donors.”

Scott says he likes how effortless the device is.

“It gives you a little tingly feeling, like you’re getting a massage,” he says. “Getting the finger stick is just an added discomfort — and the Blood Donor Center’s device eliminates it.”

Donors still have to get a needle in their arm when they give blood. But Scott says he hopes the new technology will convince more people to give the gift of life.

3,000 AAMC patients receive life-saving blood transfusions each year. Find an upcoming blood drive at www.facebook.com/AnneArundelMedicalCenter.

You can also stay up to date on upcoming blood drives and events by joining the Blood Donor Center’s Facebook group. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/AAMCBloodDonorCenter and request to join the group.

Or you may call the Blood Donor Center at 443-481-4215. 

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