Saturday, August 28, 2010

B- Blood Needed in Gwangju

I've received a few messages:

at Cheonnam University Hospital in Gwangju, there's a longtime expat, and upstanding community member named Michael Simning who sick: the full diagnosis isn't out yet, but he needs blood.

All RH negative blood is rare in Korea: most Koreans have a positive RH, so there is often a demand, or shortage in negative blood types.

A few months ago, there was a call to give blood for a kid in Yonsei Severance Hospital, across facebook and other places.  I wrote about my experience trying to give blood here, and I wrote about what one must do to qualify to give blood here.  It will help if you bring a friend who speaks Korean: even in Seoul, the blood clinic folks barely spoke a stitch of English.

there's a facebook group called "Blood Connections" that shares information about blood donation in Kroea.  They're a good group to contact for more information about what you have to do, to donate blood in Korea: the language gap can be a problem. There's more here.

The donation eligibility form is the same at any red cross clinic worldwide:

Take a look at this document. Read it carefully.
Take a look at this document. Read it carefully.
These two documents'll help you determine your eligibility.

In this article, and this one, I was told you need to meet these requirements to donate blood in Korea: 

1. You need to have an Alien Registration Card. Bring it, and be ready to present it.
2. You need to have been in Korea for a year.
3. You need to be able to answer some questions about your medical history... mostly the ones inthose two documents above... the guy at the Seoul Global Center, when I called in April, was pretty sure that you need to speak enough Korean to answer the medical history questions yourself, but when I went in person, the nurse did allow me to answer the questions through an interpreter.  Some of the questions made my translator feel awkward -- "have you shared needles"? But if you can help save a guy's life, it's worth it, right?

I'm not sure who the best person to call for more information is, either at the hospital, or for gwangju-specific information - maybe a Gwangju-er could let us know in the comments?  But that's a start.

ht: Brian in JND, Twitter, and the two or three people who have messaged me on facebook or by e-mail.

more about my blood donation experience here.


JIW said...

:( I just found out I am RH - and O. But I have a genetic disease...I think they would reject me.

A Deal Or No Deal said...

Why do they essentially disqualify most Europeans from donating?

Breda said...

I hope he gets help! In case you don't have the right blood type to help him, there is another expat in a hospital in Bundang with a life-threatening condition who really needs donations to get the medicine he needs. Please help:


Roboseyo said...

Most of Europe is disqualified because of the "mad cow disease" there back about a decade ago.

The Expat said...

As posted on BIJ:

I tried to donate blood a few times last month at different places and was turned away each time because my Korean skills weren't as good as the nurse thought they should be. I understood the questions, answered in Korean and was with my Korean wife, but was still turned away.

Too bad, too. I have O-neg blood.

Anonymous said...

I would like to encourage people to be persistent in their efforts to donate blood.
Please understand that Korean restrictions are not out-of-line with those of other countries such as Canada.
The reason why blood collectors don't want you to have your spouse or someone you know translate is because you must feel completely free to answer the screening questions honestly.
Consider printing out a copy of the form translated into English and just using a translator to confirm to the collector that it is accurate. Then fill out the form by yourself.
Perhaps that will work.
Koreans and at least one expat who was Rh negative have died for lack of blood.
It's frustrating, but being persistent on someone else's behalf is literally a matter of life-and-death in this case.

Anonymous said...

Just a couple more comments -
Mike in Gwangju is undergoing treatment for leukemia so he needs platelets.
If people are able to donate platelets (a process known as apheresis/aphoresis which takes about 1.5 hours vs. the 20 minutes it takes for whole blood donations) then it would be great if they would do that.
Of course giving whole blood still helps.
It's possible to donate platelets every two weeks. It's possible to donate whole blood every two months, but once you do, you can't switch to giving platelets until after the two month period is up.
He may need as many as 28 different platelet donors for each two week period. The donations should be scheduled as platelets have a shelf-life of several days only.
Contact his friend Tim 011.9600.6378 for more information.
Please ask your friends to find out their blood type and consider donating.
Whole-blood and platelet donation is life-saving.

Anonymous said...

The number of potential B negative donors among expats numbers (realistically) in the low hundreds (it's definitely not in the thousands). In the North American population 1.4-1.5% of people have this blood type.
A sizeable percentage of those expats could be screened out.
So, he needs at least 28 fully eligible, dedicated donors, and he's looking at target group of maybe a few hundred people??
The online community can help find those people.