KINGSPORT – With the holiday season providing a perfect opportunity for residents in the region to give the gift of life, Marsh Regional Blood Center is prepared to handle increased traffic in its attractive new Kingsport donor facility.
A month after relocating the Julia Davis Collection Center to 111 W. Stone Drive, Suite 300, in the Wellmont Urgent Care building, Marsh Regional leaders say whole blood and platelet donors are experiencing even more comfort and faster processing.
“This new center has benefited our donors tremendously with its convenience, additional space and abundant windows that provide gorgeous views,” said Don Campbell, Marsh Regional’s director. “We have heard many compliments from donors, but the facility has also been a big hit with staff members, who can interact with each other more effectively because all our functions are now on one floor.
“For more than 65 years, we have proudly served the region, and we are grateful we can provide this latest facility for the community.”
Marsh Regional, Wellmont Health System, donors and recipients celebrated the new facility during morning and late afternoon ceremonies on Tuesday, Dec. 3.
The donor center has four screening rooms, double what was available at the former location on Ravine Road. This has reduced the amount of time donors need to confidentially review with Marsh Regional personnel their health and eligibility to donate.
The facility also has five whole blood donor beds and four platelet donor beds, with room to expand as more people take advantage of the privilege to save lives. Each donor can watch a television during the collection process.
Another amenity is a new X-ray irradiator, which helps physicians prevent transfusion associated graft versus host disease. This disease is almost always fatal. Patients who might be at risk of contracting it are premature babies, bone marrow or stem cell transplant patients and some cancer patients.
The irradiation machine, which Marsh Regional uses upon request from a medical facility, protects the recipient’s immune system by removing white blood cells. It can treat four products at a time and complete the process in about five minutes. That is about a quarter of the time needed with the prior machine.
“This technology is another important service we use in our delivery of the highest quality and safest blood products for patients in the medical facilities we serve in the region,” Campbell said. “We are privileged to be the provider of choice in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia and are constantly focused on innovative methods to restore patients to health.”
Tracey Moffatt, Wellmont’s chief operating officer, said whole blood and platelet donations are an appropriate activity for people to include on their calendars during the holiday season. Donation might slip people’s minds as they become involved in festivities, but Moffatt said the need for whole blood and platelets does not take a break during the holidays.
“In fact, this is the season when many people have a need for blood because weather conditions and people’s activities can result in more trauma cases,” said Moffatt, who was the first whole blood donor at the new facility. “The residents of our region have strongly supported the blood and platelet needs of their friends and neighbors, and we just want to remind donors that we can particularly use their help at this time of year. It will save many people’s lives.”
In addition to the center in Kingsport, donors can also give whole blood and platelets at the Bristol facility, 1996 W. State St. They can also donate whole blood at drives held nearly every day throughout the region.
All donations made to Marsh Regional stay local to help people in the region. Donors with an O-negative blood type are particularly welcome, as their blood can be used for any patient.
Recently, Marsh Regional began using a new 40-foot-long mobile that has two screening rooms and four donor beds. It features taller ceilings and wider aisles and weighs less than 26,000 pounds. Campbell said this mobile was the first of its design to be rolled off the assembly line.
Marsh Regional has four mobiles that it uses for blood drives.
For more information about whole blood and platelet donations, please call 423-408-7500 or 423-652-0014 or visit www.marshblood.com.
Marsh Regional Blood Center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 3, for the new Kingsport donor center at 111 W. Stone Drive, Suite 300. Cutting the ribbon are, left to right, state Rep. Tony Shipley, R-Kingsport; Tracey Moffatt, Wellmont Health System's chief operating officer; Julia Davis, senior donor recruiter for Marsh Regional; Don Campbell, Marsh Regional's director; and Todd Norris, Wellmont's senior vice president for system advancement.