A bloody good cause

Police donate for World Blood Donor Day

JESSICA TASMAN-JONES
Last updated 14:53 14/06/2012
Hamish McPhillips blood donation
Supplied
DOING HIS BIT: Hamish McPhillips donating plasma earlier today.

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Police officers have better work stories but sometimes those stories see them end up in hospital - so with that in mind eight police officers today decided to honour World Blood Donor Day and give blood.

"You never really know if you're going to need it yourself, in our line of work it can be a bit dangerous. And you never know if a child you know or a family member might need it,'' trainee dog handler Hamish McPhillips said as he gave plasma.

A thousand donations are needed each week to service the Auckland region alone, and the Blood Service says donations are down this year.

About 2000 people would need to register with the Blood Service before the end of June to keep the current donor database in good health and so the police dog handlers were doing their bit at the Epsom Blood Donor Centre.

Each year 42,000 people need blood and a third of those are in Auckland.

McPhillips was among four of those who chose to donate plasma - where red blood cells and platelets are returned to the body via the same needle - rather than whole blood.

The process takes around three to four times longer than regular blood donation but the demand for plasma is growing.

He said donors get the options of choosing what type of donation they want to do, and he has already donated plasma about 15-20 times in the past.

 "It's a bit harder to get and they're always needing more plasma donors.

"It takes about an hour to have your plasma taken whereas whole blood takes about 10-15 minutes depending on how quick the blood comes out.

"There's a little scratch at the start and that's about the worst of it really."

McPhillips said he uses the one hour procedure as a chance to catch up on the news on his phone, or chat to others also donating.

 "I've had an auntie going through cancer treatment and she's needed a few blood transfusions, so it's nice to know it's needed and goes to good use."

Donor centres are located in Epsom, Takapuna and Manukau and those wanting to register to donate can do so online or phone 0800 GIVE BLOOD.

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