What Is The Directed Donor Program?
If the need for a blood transfusion is anticipated, you may choose to select
your own blood donors - from friends, relatives, or a specific group of
directed donors are volunteer donors who give blood that is reserved specifically for
you for a specified period of time.
Who Can Participate In The Directed Donor Program?
To participate in the Directed Donor Program you must have either a scheduled
surgery, or planned transfusion or ongoing transfusion therapy at Torrance
Memorial Medical Center.
Are Directed Donations Safer?
Although some people feel that the blood they receive from donors they
select will be safer, there is no conclusive information to show that
blood from a directed donor is safer that blood obtained from the regular
blood bank inventory. Units from both directed donors and the regular
blood supply are tested for diseases that can be transmitted by blood,
including different kinds of hepatitis, antibodies to AIDS virus, syphilis,
and antibodies to the HTLV-I/II virus. You may want to consider autologous
donation, which is donating your own blood ahead of time. This provides
the safest possible transfusion. For more information about autologous
click here. Also talk to your physician. A pamphlet on the autologous blood program
is available from your physician or in the Torrance Memorial Medical Center's
Blood Donor Center.
Who Qualifies As A Directed Donor?
A directed donor is a friend, family member, or individual from a specified
group specially selected by the patient who is to receive the blood. If
the patient is a woman of childbearing age, her husband (or male sexual
partner) and his male relatives may not donate for her since this could
complicate a future pregnancy.
To qualify, donors must:
- Be over 17 years old (15 years with parental and physician approval). (There
is no upper age limit).
- Weigh at least 110 pounds.
- Have no history of hepatitis, heart disease, or certain types of cancer.
- Have no cold, sore throat, or other type of infection.
- Have not engaged in any activity considered at risk for exposure to HIV (AIDS).
A more extensive screening will be done on the day of donation.
How To Arrange For Directed Donation
If You Will Be Receiving Blood:
First you must discuss this option with your physician who must give an
order to the Blood Donor Center nurses. It is important to do this as
soon as possible after the decision for transfusion or surgery is made
to allow enough time for your donors to be drawn and processed.
You must also read and sign an informed consent form, provide the Blood
Donor Center with a list of names of acceptable donors, and set up a billing account.
If you do not know your blood type and need this information before you
can recruit your donors, the Blood Bank will test a sample of your blood.
You will be billed for this service.
If You Will Be Giving Blood:
Call Torrance Memorial's Blood Donor Center at
310-517-4647 to schedule an appointment. You will be asked to sign a form stating that
you agree the blood you donated for a specific patient can be released
and used for other patients if not used by the person for whom you are
donating (the directed recipient). California law states that if you do
not authorize release of your blood for other patients in the event that
direct recipient does not use it, the directed recipient will be billed
for the processing fee.
Blood types are not performed before donation. If your donation passes
all tests, but is not the appropriate blood type, it will be released
for use by other patients if you have given your authorization. If authorization
has not been given, the directed recipient will be billed. Your blood
type will be mailed to you. If you must know your blood type before a
decision to donate can be made, you will be billed for this service.
How Long Does It Take Before My Directed Donor Units Will Be Available
Normally it takes one to three days to process a unit of directed donor
blood at Torrance Memorial Medical Center. If it is not convenient to
donate at Torrance Memorial Medical Center or blood is needed sooner,
contact the Blood Donor Center for information.
Directed donations should not be made more than about three weeks prior
to scheduled surgery or transfusion date to ensure the blood does not expire.
How Long Can I Keep My Directed Donor Units Reserved For Me?
For scheduled surgeries to medical patients already admitted to Torrance
Memorial Medical Center, your directed donor blood is held until you are
discharged from the medical center. For scheduled transfusion for those
with ongoing transfusion therapy, your directed donor blood will be held
until the scheduled transfusion date and/or until five days before the
blood will expire. After this time your directed donor blood will automatically
be released to regular inventory, if your donor has so agreed. If not,
a processing fee will be billed to you.
What If My Surgery Or Transfusion Date Is Postponed?
You must notify Torrance Memorial's Blood Bank at
310-517-4648 as soon as possible, if your surgery or transfusion date is postponed,
rescheduled, cancelled or if additional surgery or transfusions are planned.
If the Blood Bank is not kept informed, your directed donor units may
expire unnecessarily or not be available when you need them.
How Many Donors Do I Need?
Your physician will determine how many units of blood are needed based
on your condition and/or the amount of blood that is generally used for
the type of surgery you are having. One donation is equal to one unit
or pint of blood.
You may call the Blood Bank to find out how many of your directed donors
have passed all tests and/or are of a blood type you can use. Since all
test results are confidential, the only information released to you will
be the number of acceptable units. If some of your donors are unsuitable,
you will then have an opportunity to recruit more donors.
How Often Can Donations Be Made By Directed Donors?
Each person can donate whole blood every eight weeks, if they meet all
the requirements of regular blood donors.
What Blood Types Do My Directed Donors Need To Be For My Transfusions?
The following chart shows compatible blood types. Keep in mind that although
some patients have multiple ABO blood types that are compatible, it is
not good medical practice to "mix and match" several ABO blood types.
|When your blood type is:
||Your donor's type can be:
||O positive or O negative
||A positive or A negative, O positive or O negative
||B positive or B negative, O positive or O negative
||AB positive or AB negative, A positive or A negative, B positive or B negative,
O positive or O negative
||AB negative, A negative or B negative, O negative
How Will I Know That I Am Receiving The Blood From My Directed Donor?
Only those people you list as being acceptable donors will have blood drawn.
When available, these units will be transfused before units from the regular
blood bank inventory. Should anyone else present themselves at the Blood
Donor Center as a directed donor but not be on the list you provide, they
will be drawn as replacement donors, only, and placed in the regular inventory
of blood. Since donor information is confidential, we cannot give you
a list of the names of the donors you received. However, only those donors
you have indicated as being acceptable will be drawn and labeled as your
Will My Directed Donors Meet All Of My Transfusion Needs?
Directed donor units will be stored as whole blood. However, blood components
other than whole blood/red blood cells, such as plasma and platelets,
are sometimes used. Also, it is possible you may need additional whole
blood/red blood cells beyond the units donated for you. When blood components
and/or additional whole blood/red blood cells are necessary, they will
be obtained from the regular inventory of volunteer blood donors who are
carefully screened and extensively tested. Ask your physician about the
likelihood of needing additional blood and blood components from the regular
Is There A Fee For This Service?
A service fee is charged for the coordination and reservation of the blood.
This fee is charged for each unit drawn whether or not the blood is used.
Additional fees will be charged depending on the services required. Insurance
coverage varies, so you may want to contact your insurance carrier.
What Are All The Steps For Participating in Torrance Memorial's Directed
- You must have your surgery or transfusion therapy scheduled at Torrance
Memorial Medical Center.
- First discuss the possibility of blood transfusions and all your options
with your physician.
- Have your physician give an order to the Blood Donor Center nurses.
- Come to the Blood Donor Center to read and sign an informed consent form;
list those donors acceptable to you, and set up a billing account.
- Have the donors call the Blood Donor Center at 310-517-4647 for an appointment
to donate blood.
- Just prior to surgery or the scheduled transfusion, you must have a small
sample of blood drawn to test for compatibility.
- If surgery is postponed call the Blood Bank at 310-517-4648.