Combine an upscale doctor’s office with a spa and what do you get? The new Blood Connection Center in North Charleston – that’s what!
Blood Connection Centers are permanent locations for donating plasma, platelets, red cells and whole blood. You may have donated inside one of their bloodmobiles, which are set up almost every day somewhere in the local area.
The new North Charleston center at 5870 Core Road, off Interstate 26, actually opened Jan. 6, but their ribbon cutting ceremony took place Feb. 27.
Allie Van Dyke, partnerships and media coordinator for The Blood Connection, said, “We invited community leaders, the Chamber and other partners to the ribbon cutting ceremony for the official opening.”
The Blood Connection, a nonprofit organization that serves North Carolina and South Carolina, has seven centers in South Carolina and three in North Carolina. Their mobiles are quite accessible as far as convenience goes, and for TBC, bloodmobiles are a common way for people to donate whole blood at events or in high-traffic areas such as restaurants or shopping centers.
But the mobiles are a bit more limited as far as what they can do because they only accept whole blood. At the centers, people can donate plasma, platelets and red cells (which could take a couple of hours), as well as whole blood.
“That’s important for the many local patients who need those products every day,” Van Dyke said.
The 15,000-square-foot center in North Charleston has a spacious waiting room, screening rooms, a 10-bed donor room and refreshment area and new equipment and furniture.
With virtually no wait times, donating at a Blood Connection Center is quick and easy. The center is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the weekdays and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekends. Appointments can be made online, and walk-ins are welcome. The North Charleston center also serves as a blood distribution hub and reference lab.
The difference between TBC and other blood donation organizations, such as the American Red Cross, is that TBC’s sole focus is on providing blood products for the community. Also, the blood donated with TBC goes directly back to the local community. Their processing center is in Piedmont, South Carolina.
Once the blood is collected at a mobile site or at a center, it is sent to the processing lab in Piedmont to confirm it is safe for transfusion. After being cleared, couriers deliver it to TBC’s hospital partners. Blood is used for cancer patients, burn victims, trauma, surgical needs and even some labor and delivery patients. The processing center operates year-round, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
TBC, which supplies blood to local hospitals only, currently is the exclusive blood supplier for Roper St. Francis Healthcare in the Lowcountry and McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence, which includes a total of 11 hospitals.
All processes and practices are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.
“Blood is a very valuable thing. It cannot be made or manufactured,” Van Dyke explained.
She said they are required to get 800 people a day into their 10 centers and mobiles in order to keep their hospitals fully supplied.
“That’s a huge task, but our community has always come through,” she said.
According to TBC’s website, someone in the United States needs blood every two seconds and one in 10 patients who show up to a hospital will need blood.
“Donating blood saves lives. You never know when you might be on the receiving end. It’s healthy humans helping others who are sick or injured,” Van Dyke concluded.
For more information, visit www.thebloodconnection.org or call 800-392-6551.
By Theresa Stratford