New FDA guidelines widen variety in blood donor pool

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Here’s something to draw attention to: The FDA’s changes for blood donors allows millions of more people the opportunity to save lives. Major changes to the policy include a shorter turnaround period for individuals living in Europe and those in high exposure areas for malaria and mad cow disease.

The administration is excited to be positive for people who were once a negative candidate.

“If you were told before, ‘because of this reason, you can’t donate’, it may be that now you can,” Dr. Rachel LaCount mentions, “So the procedure is pretty much similar, every time you come. We ask a lot of questions to determine your eligibility status.”

St. Mary’s Blood Center has been trying to implement these changes for months Two benefits St. Mary officials find in these changes are the chances to increase donor count and get more O-negative blood in its supply.

“They’re the universal donors and we use that blood in traumas,” Dr. Rachel LaCount continues, “We supply to 21 hospitals in Western Colorado and Eastern Utah. All of those hospitals want O-negative blood, those folk only make up seven percent of the population. If we open up these rules, and we make it easier for people to donate, we’re hoping that folks with, really any blood type but especially O-negative blood will come on and donate.”

Under these new regulations, St. Mary’s Blood Center continues to move forward saving lives one pint at a time.

St. Mary’s Regional Blood Center has made the following changes:
● The deferral period for travel to malaria-endemic areas decreases from twelve months to three
months.
● The deferral for individuals who have used human growth hormone or bovine insulin has been
removed completely.
● Deferrals for individuals who have spent time in certain European countries or on military bases
in Europe who were previously considered to have been exposed to a possible risk of CJD –
known as “mad cow disease” have been changed and simplified.

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