Posts Tagged ‘blood donation’

Memorial Day – 1945 and 2015

posted on May 20, 2015

Lincoln Cushing
Heritage writer

 

Fore 'n' Aft, 1941-01-15, RMH

“Prefab Patriots,” article about blood donors in Fore ‘n’ Aft, 1/15/1943 (Prefabrication was one of the construction divisions in the Kaiser Richmond shipyards)

Kaiser Permanente is on a mission to hire more military veterans and is committed to leveraging veterans’ skills, attributes, and experience to further strengthen our diverse and talented workforce.

A previous history blog described Henry J. Kaiser’s support for World War II military veterans, but the Home Front workers during that war also showed their deep commitment during Memorial Day by taking on additional duties. One example was this news item from the weekly Kaiser Richmond shipyard newspaper Fore ‘n’ Aft, June 8, 1945:

“Mobile blood bank a big success”

They turned the personnel training building in Yard Two into an experimental station last week. That is, it began as an experiment, but it wasn’t very long before everyone realized the idea was a huge success which should be carried into the other yards.

The theory was that if a mobile blood bank unit came into the yard it would be swamped with workers who wanted to donate blood. [But with good planning and logistics it worked out.] On Memorial Day there was a continual line of workers to and from the personnel training building from 8:45 a.m. until 2 p.m.

When the final check was made, 265 pints of blood had been donated. Two hundred and sixty-five pints of blood donated in one day by one yard is a record-breaking figure. It’s also much more than that. It’s life to a great many of our fighting men who might otherwise not ever return from battle fronts.

Bringing this Home Front commitment to the present, Kaiser Permanente plays a leadership role in shaping the future of health care delivery both in America and across the globe. Kaiser Permanente offers a challenging and meaningful career at an organization that values the unique strengths veterans bring to the civilian workforce.

Veterans are encouraged to take that next step and visit the Kaiser Permanente Military Careers site. A Military Skills Translator will assess one’s service experience and recommend appropriate civilian Kaiser Permanente career opportunities, and a Military Talent Community email list offers an additional channel to receive career updates and tailored information.

Kaiser Permanente is not just committed to hiring military talent—it promises to provide newly hired veterans with the resources and training they need to perform successfully in their initial roles and the ongoing support to achieve success.

 

Short link to this article: http://k-p.li/1LbDBFD

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Blood supply key to world campaign to eradicate HIV/AIDS

posted on November 29, 2012

By Lincoln Cushing
Heritage writer

“They [Red Cross] make it so easy for you to donate blood,” comments Kaiser-Permanente’s Director of Special Marketing Programs, Tom Hussey. Photo from Factors, Pacific Northwest Regional Blood Services newsletter (American Red Cross) June/July 1984

World AIDS Day – set for December 1 every year – was established in 1988 by the World Health Organization to draw attention to the need for international medical and governmental cooperation in addressing this catastrophic disease.  

The WHO adopted one theme for the years 2011 to 2015: “Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.” One focus of “Getting to zero” has been a global effort to ensure a safe and ample supply of that renewable potion of life – human blood.

In its 67 years of operation, Kaiser Permanente has been an active partner in the ongoing quest to keep blood available and free of dangerous contaminants.

In 1948, three years after the Permanente Health Plan was opened to the public, the Permanente Hospital in Oakland started its own blood bank. It was the only private hospital in the San Francisco Bay Area to offer such a service to patients. The single requirement was that blood recipients had to arrange to replace the blood. Members could give blood ahead of time to ensure availability when they needed it.

KP gets out of blood bank business

By the mid-1960s, however, 80 percent of the blood used in KP’s Northern California hospitals came from community blood banks, costing $25 a pint. KP offered a Permanente Medical Group Blood Transfusion Insurance Program, which credited the donation of a single pint against unlimited blood needed by that member for two years, or one year if applied to a family.[i]

Graphic used on cover of the Permanente Medical Group Blood Program brochure, October 1967

The math worked out – Permanente Medical Group Executive Director Cecil Cutting, MD, noted: “. . . Participants are a relatively healthy lot of members whose transfusion requirements account for fewer than 3 percent of total Health Plan transfusions, while their contributions are running equivalent to 30 percent of the total blood used.”[ii]

In the past four decades, blood bank operators have been faced with the reality that the use of donated blood – its drawing, storing and administering – poses risks for transmission of disease, such as HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B and C.  In 1971, blood banks began to test donated blood for Hepatitis B.

Keeping blood supply safe

In 1983, U.S. blood banking groups issued their first warnings about AIDS. This action was taken after researchers learned HIV/AIDS was a blood-borne disease that could be transmitted by blood transfusion, as well as by sexual contact and shared hypodermic needles.

This blood donation illustration appeared in the “AIDS update” published in the KP member publication “Planning for Health” in the Fall 1988 edition.

In 1985, immediately after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration licensed the first test to detect the antibody to HIV, Red Cross Blood Services regions began testing all newly donated blood for HIV. Since then, there have been an estimated 10,000 cases of HIV in the United States resulting from contaminated whole blood administered to patients between 1978 and 1985. (A heat treatment developed in 1985 renders blood plasma safe.)iii

In 1988, the federal Centers for Disease Control notified Kaiser Permanente that community blood banks in KP’s Bay Area service areas had not screened blood donations properly to prevent contamination in the supply.

Kaiser Permanente, not responsible for independent blood bank procedures, contacted Health Plan members who had received blood from local banks between 1978 and 1985. Affected members were told that the risk of transmission of HIV might be higher than the nationwide average due to the blood banks’ improper and inadequate blood screening.

KP encouraged these members to obtain free HIV screening tests. iv The 1985 cutoff date reflected the increased blood screening that virtually eliminated transfusion transmission.

KP has also aggressively reduced other HIV blood transmission risks, such as hospital staff needle sticks, but addressing member risk through contaminated blood was a major first step. The task of addressing the epidemic was huge, but KP took the challenge seriously.

By 2000, a KP Northern California spokesperson could safely affirm: “Our efforts make a difference. Kaiser Permanente is making profound efforts to stop the spread of AIDS.” v

 

Editor’s note: Heritage writer Lincoln Cushing is a regular blood donor and encourages all readers who are medically able to donate as well. This crucial renewable resource depends on volunteer donors. Blood agencies regularly schedule mobile units at large institutions. Please step up when you have the opportunity.



[i] Permanente Medical Group Blood Program brochure, 1967.

[ii]Newsletter from the Desk of the PMG (Permanente Medical Group) Executive Director (Cecil Cutting, MD), October, 1967.

iii “Prevention of AIDS transmission through screening of the blood supply,” Annual Review of Immunology. 1995; 13:201-27. Galel SA, Lifson JD, Engleman EG.

iv “AIDS Update,” Planning for Health, Fall 1988

California Wire, 11/20/2000

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