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Double Red Cell Program

Southcoast's Double Red Blood Cell program allows the Southcoast Blood Bank to collect twice as many red blood cells during a single donation.

Your blood is collected directly into a machine that separates the red blood cells from the rest of your blood. The remaining plasma products are returned to you.

Safe and convenient, the donation time is approximately 45 minutes.

Red cell donors are eligible to give two to three times a year.

Benefits to the donor:

  • Twice the donation in a single sitting.

  • Longer time between donations.

  • A smaller needle and immediate rehydration.

A 2-in-1 Collection Process

The Southcoast Blood Bank's Double Red Cell collection program is a new technology that collects two units of red cells, safely, in one blood donation.

Red blood cells are critically needed for trauma, surgical, cancer and anemia patients. They are often in short supply because they are the most frequently transfused blood components and they have a short shelf-life.

During the double red cell collection, two units of red blood cells are collected and separated from the rest of the blood components. The blood products that are remaining — platelets, plasma plus a small amount of saline — are safely returned back to the donor.

Blood types O and B are in the greatest demand for double red cell collection.

Type O blood is the universal blood type and can be transfused to all other blood types. It is the preferred type for accident victims and babies needing transfusions. People with type O blood can only receive type O red cells.

Doubling Your Donation — Safe & Easy

Similar to traditional blood donation, a single needle is used to collect the blood.

The difference is the red blood cells are collected into two separate bags, while the remaining blood products and a small amount of saline are returned to the donor, all while using the same, smaller needle.

The entire process takes approximately 45 minutes with the return of blood products, leaving the donor fully rehydrated.

The criterion for donating double red cells is slightly more stringent including height, weight, and iron requirements.

And the time between blood donations is twice as long — 16 weeks compared to eight weeks.

Types of Blood & Why We Need Them

There are four main types of blood: O, A, B & AB.

A typical blood donation is the collection of one pint of whole blood. The whole blood is then subdivided into several blood products: red cells, white cells, platelets and plasma. Red cells have the highest demand, but only have a shelf-life of 35 days; platelets can only be stored for five days.

The demand for whole blood products for all types of blood is heightened during the winter months during cold and flu season and the holidays and during the summer months, when people tend to travel or get too busy to donate.

The Rh factor ~ negative vs. positive: Like the A, B and O antigens, the Rh antigen is another element used to best match blood donors to recipients.

Type 0 blood is the most common therefore it is in the highest demand. Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to all other blood types. It is the preferred type for accident victims and babies needing transfusions. Type O negative can only receive type O negative.

Type B is in high demand because only a small percentage of the population is type B and type B can only receive type B or type O.

Type A and AB is in high demand for routine donations, because the plasma from these donors can be used for most patients.

  • Monday & Friday
    7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • Tuesday & Thursday
    8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Wednesday
    9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • First Saturday of the Month*
    8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
    (*Except Holiday weekends: the donor room will open the second Saturday of the month)

  • The Donor Room is closed Sundays and holidays.

  • Southcoast Health Van dates & locations
Appointments are requested, but not necessary, and can be made by calling 508-973-5320

Location: 101 Page Street, New Bedford, MA 02740

The Southcoast Blood Bank is located just off the main lobby at St. Luke's Hospital.

When you donate blood at St. Luke's Hospital it stays local, saving the lives of individuals right here in the South Coast region.

All of the blood is used at our three hospitals sites: Charlton Memorial in Fall River, St. Luke's in New Bedford and Tobey in Wareham.

Typically, Southcoast uses nearly 1,200 pints of blood a month.

The whole blood donation process - from the interview through the actual donating - usually takes about 30 minutes.

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