Civil servant gives 100th blood donation

Posted on: March 11th, 2014 by Simon No Comments

Andrew Wood, a scientific adviser to UK troops in Afghanistan, has given blood three times a year for the past 33 years. Photographer Sergeant Dan Bardsley; Crown copyright.He is more used to the surroundings of British medical centers, but a civil servant has reached a personal milestone by making his 100th blood donation while working in Camp Bastion.

Andrew Wood, a scientific adviser to UK troops in Afghanistan, has given blood three times a year for the past 33 years. He was due to make his 100th donation at home in Kent but took the opportunity to do it when he learned he could contribute to the stock held in Britain’s desert base.

Andrew, 49, said: “One of the members of my team was injured two months ago and required blood. When I heard I could donate in theatre I wanted to register. And to be getting in the 100th donation before my 50th birthday makes it even better.”

Andrew, has the common blood group A negative. On this occasion he gave platelets, using a procedure which allows individuals to give specific blood components with the rest of the blood being returned to the donor.

He said: “Being here in Afghanistan, I’m focusing on the fact that I know where these blood products are going, to our troops who are injured on the frontline. It’s very humbling to know that my blood product is going to be used shortly. It’s slightly different from the UK where your blood is taken away from you and you don’t really know where it goes.”


Platelet donation


Corporal Craig Mitchell, 28 from Littlehampton, West Sussex, gave blood platelets for the first time this month. Craig, a Reservist, with 256 Field Hospital, London, has deployed as an Emergency Nurse on Operation Herrick 19, a role that he also has in his civilian career, at the Kings College hospital, London.

He said: “The blood that I donated was probably used on someone who needed a blood transfusion a few days later. It’s ironic, I administered platelets to a patient last week, so not only am I donating them but I’m also administering them to the patients. It could have easily been my blood that I hung up for a patient last week.”

Captain Andy Miles, Officer Commanding, Pathology Labatories, Role 3, Camp Bastion described how the introduction of the Apheresis method – which allows specific components to be filtered –came into its own during Op Herrick. One apheresis donation provides enough platelets for one complete transfusion, whereas an individual would have to give blood six times in the normal way to achieve the same effect.

He said: “Platelet donation was started in Camp Bastion five years ago and has made a noticeable difference. It’s extremely helpful to us being at the end of a long supply chain from the UK to be able to get supplies quickly from troops on the ground in Afghanistan.

“Platelets are really fragile and tend to only last a few days. We’ve got a constant turnover of stock here therefore we sometimes call forward donors to help with that stock.”

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