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Patients undergoing surgery sometimes need to have blood available in the event blood is lost or needs to be given during the procedure. If you wish to used donated blood, you should talk with your physician when you discuss your upcoming surgery. If blood will be needed, your physician will complete a blood donation request form for the Red Cross.

There are two options for donating blood: autologous and directed.

Autologous donation:

This donation allows you to donate your own blood prior to surgery. There are few restrictions to this process. People with anemia, bleeding disorders, certain heart conditions, some cancers, and those who’ve had recent or current infections are usually not eligible to donate. In addition, donors must weigh at least 110 pounds and have a hemoglobin concentration of at least 11g/dL.

You can schedule weekly donations until a week before surgery. The week off gives your body time to replenish donated blood. Donations must be started within six weeks before surgery. Donors may develop mild anemia and should take an iron supplement, as prescribed by their physician.

Directed donation:

This is a donation from family or friends to be used for one specific individual. Studies show that directed donation is not necessarily safer than blood used from volunteer donors. When family members donate, blood needs to be irradiated to prevent a possible immune system reaction in the person receiving blood.

Directed donors need to know their own blood type, as well as that of the person receiving their blood. You can be tested at a hospital lab before setting up an appointment to donate.

Volunteer donors can donate every 56 days. People wanting to donate more than one unit during that time period must obtain permission from the surgeon before scheduling additional Red Cross appointments. An order must be placed with the Red Cross by your surgeon/physician. Directed donors are screened and must meet the same requirements as volunteer donors; blood goes through the same testing processes. The Red Cross needs 4-7 business days to process donations.


Cost for Blood Donation

There is a fee for collecting, testing and distributing autologous and directed donations. There is also an additional charge for irradiating blood. This fee, which will be reflected on your hospital bill, can be as high as $500 per unit of blood. Many times especially in the case of directed donation it may not be covered. Check with your health insurance company.

Once blood is delivered to the hospital, a blood sample is taken from the person who will receive it. This test is called a Type and Crossmatch and is used to ensure that blood is safe to give to the patient. Testing needs to be done at the hospital where the blood is sent, no sooner than 72 hours prior to the surgery.

Donated blood is good for 35-42 days, so if the surgery needs to be postponed for any reason and cannot be rescheduled in time, another donation will be needed.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the Red Cross donation coordinator at 651-291-4606 or toll-free at 800-652-9742, ext. 4606.



  • If You Need a Blood Transfusion: Some things to Think About; Red Cross 1999.
  • When You Have A choice: Autologous Blood Donation, Directed Blood Donation; Red Cross 1998.
  • Blood and Blood Donations: Questions and Answers American; Red Cross 1999

Regions Hospital Directed Donation Protocol

A directed donation is a donation from family or friends to be used for a specific individual.


Pre-Donation Protocol

  1. The physician must complete that portion of the Patient Donation Request Form.
  2. If donors need to know their blood type, testing can be done at Regions Hospital. The intended recipient is charged for the testing. During daytime hours, go to the Outpatient Drawing Lab in the Gillette Children’s Specialty Health care building. A Sec EDTA (purple) top tube will be drawn. The following information must be available at the time of the draw: Donor’s name, Social Security number, date of birth, relationship to the recipient, recipient’s name, hospital number and date of birth. Weekends and evenings the donor will be drawn by PCT. Results will be called back to the nursing station or physician.
  3. If the donor knows his/her blood type, and is ABO-Rh identical with the recipient, he/ she can contact the North Central Blood Services directly (651-291-4606) to arrange for donation. Address and phone number of the North Central Blood Services is on the blood donation form. The donor will take the form to the North Central Blood Services. The donor must meet the North Central Blood Services donor requirements. Donations for newborns, under 4 months of age, must be CMV negative.
  4. Blood Services needs 3 or 4 days to process blood. Donors are not processed on weekends.
  5. If blood is not used by the intended recipient, the unit will be retained until the expiration date of the blood, after which it will be discarded. The patient will be charged for any nontransfused products, handling fees and the irradiation of the unit, if necessary.

Outpatient Identification Band Protocol

Regions Hospital Pathology Laboratory (For Cancer Care Center and Outpatient Drawing Lab)

Identification bands are used to positively identify patients before a blood sample for transfusion of blood or blood products are collected.



A. Methods of patient identification include Crossmatch (XM) and Type and Hold (TYHD).

  1. Photo Identification cards
    1. Patients must have in their possession a Photo ID for an acceptable source of identification for specimen collection for Blood Bank tests or administration of blood product orders.
    2. Other forms of identification may include military, state, and work ID’s with the first and last name present.
  2. Patient presents with no photo identification.
    1. If the patient is coherent or alert:
      1. Ask patient to state full name (Last, First and M.I.) and date of birth.
      2. In addition, ask the patient for social security number, drivers license, military, state, or work ID’s with first and last name on it as another identifier.
      3. This information will be used compared to the patient Rampis transmittal or patient chart for positive identification.
    2. If the patient is not coherent, cannot speak, or is under the age of 18:
      1. Patients must have one of the following present to vouch for the identification of the patient.
        1. Parent
        2. Guardian
        3. Nursing Home Attendant
        4. Relative
        5. Caregiver
        6. Patients who do not speak English may have a translator present to assist with patient identification.

B. These tests require positive identification for placing identification bands on outpatients.

  1. All cross-matched blood ordered by physicians or other appropriate provide
    1. Sunquest test code (XM)
  2. All Type and Holds ordered by a physician or other appropriate provide
    1. Sunquest test code (TYHD)
    2. Exception to the rule would include patients who are in for their prenatal visit.
  3. All Blood Bank Hold Specimens that may lead to transfusion of blood products or components.
    1. Sunquest test code BBHLD
  4. Other Blood Bank testing that doesn’t require patient banding includes: 
    1. Direct Coombs (DATR) • Antibody screen only (ASCR)
    2. Rh only (RHTYP) • Relative Blood type (RBT)
    3. ABO and Rh type (ABRH)

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care providers. If you have any questions, talk with your doctor or others on your health care team. If you are a Gillette patient with urgent questions or concerns, please contact Telehealth Nursing at 651-229-3890.