Australian Red Cross Blood Service’s Jude Hyndman is a Community Relations officer who manages two Mobile Blood Donor Centres which visit over 20 regional sites, including Victor Harbor.
She recently gave a presentation to members and guests of South Coast U3A.
The history of blood includes some weird, incredible practices, such as using leeches and blood-letting. The first successful blood transfusion was on a dog in 1665, with the first human blood transfusion performed in 1818. In 1914 vein-to-vein transfusions were used to treat shock in World War I.
In 1929 the first Red Cross volunteer blood transfusion service was set up in Australia.
In 1939, during World War II, state blood services provided volunteer blood for military personnel and civilians. Victorian Red Cross began banking blood rather than direct transfusions. In 1945 Red Cross took over Army blood preparation centres.
Different blood types were identified in 1900. Six main blood types range from rare to common. O Negative, one of the smallest groups, is the most valuable, being a universal blood type which can be given safely to all patients, and therefore in high demand.
In 1996 the Australian Red Cross Blood Service was created to amalgamate the separate state and territory Red Cross blood banks which now manage the collection and supply of safe, high quality blood and blood products, plus organ and bone marrow services for transplantation across Australia.
The largest percentage of blood and blood derivatives is used for treatment of cancer patients, obstetric cases and newborn babies. There are 22 different derivatives of blood so a single blood donation can be separated into many components, whole blood, plasma, and platelets.
Anyone in good health between the ages of 18 and 70 can donate blood, and continue to donate until the age of 80.