NAVIGATION

Blood Supply FAQ

A. Blood Supply

1) How does Beijing United Family Hospital help ensure sufficient and safe blood supply?

  • We at Beijing United Family Hospital (BJU) have always recognized the importance of having access to blood, especially blood types that are relatively rare in China, as needed for our patients and for all who may need it in the city. For the past 15 years, we have been organizing regular blood drives in partnership with the Beijing Blood Center in Tongzhou to help ensure a sufficient stock of various types of blood, including types such as Rh negative blood. (We are in a unique position to do this because of the relatively high incidence of Rh negative blood among our patient/donor base.) Toward this end, the BJU Laboratory also keeps a list of potential Rh negative donors. This close cooperation between the BJU Laboratory and the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center has made it possible for us to provide blood as needed for BJU patients requiring transfusions.
  • BJU has its own Blood Bank and maintains a steady supply of most types of blood on site at BJU. Sometimes certain types of blood need to be acquired from the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center.

2) Is there enough blood available in Beijing if I or my family needed it?

  • Yes, generally there is enough blood available in Beijing through the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center for most blood types. The latest donation numbers are listed (in Chinese only) on the Beijing blood donation website at http://www.bjblood.com. The Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center stores enough blood of various kinds that can be acquired by Beijing United Family Hospital (BJU) on behalf of patients, whether experiencing an emergency or for scheduled procedures. Rarer blood types in China (Rh negative types) are also kept by the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center and can be transferred to hospitals that need it, but to date, rarer blood is not permitted to be stored in hospitals or in the BJU Blood Bank, in order to ensure safe supply for all Beijing residents. The supplies of Rh negative types of blood stored in the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Centeru may sometimes be limited—although there will always be some amount kept. When supplies of rarer blood run low, the Center will often contact Beijing United Family Hospital to assist them to reach out to the international community in Beijing via joint blood drives.
  • BJU also has its own Blood Bank where it keeps fresh supplies of Rh positive blood on hand daily, and has close cooperation with the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center to acquire additional blood as needed for our patients. BJU has a clear protocol in place, as well as several options available, to acquire blood and assist patients in emergencies or for upcoming procedures.

3) I have a rare blood type (such as O negative); is there enough blood for me in Beijing in an emergency?

  • BJU has several measures in place to handle a massive bleeding emergency for those with rare types of blood such as O negative. However, it is possible for supplies of rare blood types to run low in Beijing from time to time, (although not run out). If you have a rare blood type, please consider a donation to the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center. BJU has a protocol in place to provide several options for rare blood availability in an emergency. The protocol includes getting fresh rare blood (such are Rh negative blood), thawing frozen red blood cells from the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center, and maintaining a list of staff and community members willing to quickly donate blood if needed, working closely with the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center to acquire blood as quickly as possible.
  • Those BJU patients with an upcoming procedure and with Rh negative or any type of blood can also donate their own blood to be stored at the BJU Blood Bank to be ready for the day of the procedure. Patients should discuss this procedure with their doctor.

4) How long does it take to access blood at BJU in an emergency?

  • Blood from the BJU Blood Bank can be accessed in a few short minutes. Frozen plasma is also stored in the BJU Blood Bank. If needed, additional fresh blood beyond what is stored daily can be available and transferred to our BJU Blood Bank from the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center from 45 minutes up to 2 hrs maximum depending on transportation. In non-emergency situations and for scheduled procedures, BJU can arrange for blood to be delivered to the BJU Blood Bank ahead of time. BJU drivers can stand by on call at the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center during surgery in case more blood needed.
  • If not enough fresh blood is available for a specific type of blood, frozen red blood cells are also available in the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center. Frozen red blood cells are as effective as fresh blood if used on the day it is prepared, since it only is valid for 1 day, but may take up to a few hours to prepare, since a range of steps is required before use. Each emergency case is different, making it difficult to specify which method will be taken in any given emergency. This must be decided by the doctor at the time. All BJU doctors are aware of the protocol in place to assist patients in emergencies.

5) Why doesn’t BJU store Rh negative blood long-term?

  • BJU always has a supply of fresh units of Rh positive blood, which we receive from the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center. If the fresh blood reaches its expiration date, we do not use it and we absorb the costs involved.
  • Unfortunately, since Rh negative blood is often scarce in China, no Beijing hospital, whether private or public, is allowed to store fresh or frozen units of Rh negative blood long-term. All Rh negative blood must be stored at the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center. All hospitals needing Rh negative blood must request this on a case-by-case basis with specific requests for patients with a documented medical need.

6) How is the blood I receive at BJU stored?

  • It is stored in our BJU Blood Bank where it is kept according to the highest quality standards for blood storage and handling. BJU blood bank is a CAP (College of American Pathologists) accredited laboratory.

7) How is the blood I receive at BJU prepared?

  • In almost all cases, blood is first brought in from the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center where it must be first tested and processed in a comprehensive manner, as required by government regulation. When needed for patient procedures, it is then cross-matched with a patient’s own blood and tested to ensure compatibility and safety.

8) In general, is there enough blood supply in China?

  • Yes, in most metropolitan areas there is enough blood for most blood types, and blood supply is carefully managed by local governments in every area. Shanghai United Family Hospital and Tianjin United Family Hospital have similar protocols in place to Beijing United. Supply of rare blood types (for example Rh negative) may be somewhat less dependable in some parts of China. If rare blood is a concern, the following resources may be helpful for you: The World Health Organization (http://www.who.int/en/), The China Society of Blood Transfusion (http://www.csbt.org.cn), the Beijing Blood Center (http://www.bjblood.com), the Red Cross Society of China (http://www.redcross.org.cn/), local health departments (http://www.moh.gov.cn), or contact your United Family Healthcare doctor for advice.

9) Can I reserve rare-type blood from Beijing blood centers?

BJU can reserve rarer-type blood in China up to one week prior to intended use from the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center. The Center will reserve the blood for BJU at no charge to patients. We can arrange for one of our drivers to be on standby at the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center on the day of the surgery. If blood is needed, the driver will bring the blood to the BJU Blood Bank, and the blood can be made available within approximately 60 minutes. Alternatively, some blood can be kept in the BJU Blood Bank upon a physician’s request. In this case, normally the patient will be charged for the specially stored blood, even though the blood may not be used. Blood kept in the BJU Blood Bank is immediately available.

B. Blood Donation

1) I want to donate blood, how can I do that?

  • For detailed blood donation information, see below.
  • Anyone seeking to donate blood in Beijing must donate through the Beijing Blood Center, either through its Beijing Red Cross Blood Center or Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center, both of whom have bloodmobiles located at key public places throughout the city, such as Olympic Park, Chaoyang Park, Carrefour Supermarket next to China Exhibition Center (3rd Ring Road), and elsewhere. Potential donors can contact the Beijing Blood Center (http://www.bjblood.com – Chinese only website, or Chinese speakers can call Tel: 010-6951 3399) to find out where the bloodmobile is presently parked.
  • For non-Chinese speakers wishing to donate blood who may require assistance, please contact patientservices@ufh.com.cn or lab@ufh.com.cn. Our staff will help answer questions, can help donors liaise with the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center, and will generally guide non-Chinese speakers through the process as a complimentary service to the community.

2) Is donating blood free?

  • Yes, donating blood is always free.

3) Does BJU profit from blood? Why would I be charged for a transfusion when blood was donated freely?

  • BJU does not and would never seek to unfairly profit from providing blood itself. Apart from normal fees involved in administering transfusions, patients are charged for costs incurred by the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center and by BJU for testing, transport, storage, handling, and retesting.

4) I want to donate my own blood for my own surgery, can I do that?

  • Autologous blood donation should be within 35 days of surgery because blood can only be stored up to 35 days after donation. Consult your doctor on whether and how to donate your own blood for surgery. Refer to the Blood Preparation and Non-life Threatening Transfusions at BJU FAQ below.

5) I want my family members or close friends to donate blood for my own surgery, can I arrange this?

  • Yes, this can be arranged. In this case, blood must be donated to the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center a few days before a procedure. Donors should bring a formal request form from BJU to the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center and ensure their blood is specifically reserved by BJU for a definite patient. Please check with your doctor for more details.

C. More Information

1) Where do I go if I need additional information or have more specific questions?

    • Should you have more questions about blood or blood donation, please contact patientservices@ufh.com.cn or lab@ufh.com.cn.
    • For specific medical questions regarding an individual situation, you should contact your doctor. If you wish to make an appointment with a BJU medical professional, please call our 24hr Service Center at 4008-919191.
    • Frequently visit the BJU website for the latest information at http://beijing.ufh.com.cn.

Blood Drives and Donation

If you’re thinking about donating blood in China, you may have many questions. Find your questions answered along with the dates to our blood drives below.

Beijing United Family Hospital (BJU) holds its community blood drives from 10am to 3pm on the third floor of BJU Building 2. Our blood drives are open to all. United Family Healthcare (UFH) invites you to come give the gift of life to those in need:

Saturday, March 4th. 2017
Friday, June 16th., 2017
Monday, December 18th, 2017

Q.      How does the blood get from donor to recipient?

Q.     Is donating blood safe?

A.      Donating blood is a safe and sterile process, conducted the same way as in the U.S. Needles and bags used to collect blood are used only once and then discarded, making the spread of any infection to the donor impossible.

Q.     Am I an eligible donor?

A.  An official list of the full health criteria for donating blood in Beijing, is available for download here: Donor Health Criteria.

  • In addition to the health criteria, the donors must meet the following general criteria:
  1. Be 18-55 years old.
  2. Have not donated blood within the last 6 months.
  3. Weigh over 45 kg (female) or 55 kg (male).
  • The day before donation, please eat healthy and light to avoid excessive fat buildup in your blood, which may result in your disqualification for donation.
  • Bring you official photo ID or passport.

Q.     I have some doubts about giving blood because I have been exposed to diseases (such as malaria, dengue fever, “mad cow” disease, etc) in the past or am taking a certain medication. Am I still eligible?

A.      Please refer these questions to patientservices@ufh.com.cn or lab@ufh.com.cn.

Q.     If I’m not allowed to donate blood in the U.S., can I give blood in China?

A.      The American Red Cross and the Beijing Blood Center have slightly different criteria for blood donations. You may be eligible to donate in one country and not another.

Q.     Why is Rh negative blood special?

A.     Only three out of every 1000 (0.3%) Han Chinese have Rh negative blood. In Western countries, this blood type is much more common, present in up to 15% of the population. Although all blood donors are welcome to give blood, we hope that those with Rh negative blood will help to increase the supply of that blood type in Beijing.

Q.     How can I ensure a pleasant donation experience?

A.      Ensure that you are well rested, fed and hydrated before donating. Do not eat greasy food in 24 hours before your donation. After your donation, have a light snack and plenty of fluids. Continue with your daily activities, but avoid heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for the remainder of the day

Q.     How long does it take to donate blood?

A.      The whole process takes about 30 to 40 minutes. It starts with registration, questions, a mini-physical examination (vital signs, weight, hemoglobin, blood typing) and blood screenings. The actual donation takes around 5 to 10 minutes.

Q.     How much blood is taken? Will it make me weak?

A.     In China, you can choose to donate either 200 or 400mL, less than 10% of the body’s total blood volume (blood donations in the U.S. i closer to 500 mL). The vast majority of people feel fine during and after their donation. A very small percentage of people may experience temporary dizziness, but some rest and fluids will help you recover quickly. Your body will replace the lost fluids within 24 hours.

Q.     What do I do if I want to donate again after this blood drive?

A.  Leave your contact information with Beijing United Family Hospital and Clinics (BJU) personnel. They will inform you of future blood drives.

Q.     Who organizes these blood drives?

A.      BJU works with several community partners to organize four to six blood drives a year. This is done in conjunction with the local (district-based) Blood Administration Office. The Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center handles all blood collection in this part of Beijing. They provide professional staff, supplies and the bloodmobile. The blood that is collected will go to the Beijing Blood Center in Tongzhou.

For more information about blood transfusions at BJU, please visit our FAQ about blood supply and blood transfusions page, and our blood preparation and protocol page.

Blood Preparation and Non-Life Threatening Transfusions at BJU

We at Beijing United Family Hospital (BJU) have always recognized the importance of having access to blood, especially blood types that are relatively rare in China, as needed for our patients and for all who may need it in the city. For the past 15 years, we have been organizing regular blood drives in partnership with the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center to help ensure a sufficient stock of various types of blood, including types such as Rh negative blood. (We are in a unique position to do this because of the relatively high incidence of Rh negative blood among our patient/donor base.) Toward this end, the BJU Laboratory also keeps a list of potential Rh negative donors. This close cooperation between the BJU Laboratory and the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center has made it possible for us to provide blood as needed for BJU patients requiring transfusions.

BJU has its own Blood Bank and maintains a steady supply of most types of blood on site at BJU. Sometimes certain types of blood need to be acquired from the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center. The following is the BJU protocol for rare blood (Rh negative) transfusions.

1. Blood preparation for elective surgery or very high risk pregnancy

Preoperative Autologous Transfusions

Patients undergoing elective surgery may donate blood at BJU and reserve it in the BJU Blood Bank for their own use in the 3- to 5-week period prior to the scheduled operation date. The patient must have Hgb>110g/L or HCT >0.33. This whole blood is reserved exclusively for the donor and can be used at any time within 35 days.

Reserving rare-type blood from Beijing blood centers

BJU can reserve rarer-type blood in China up to one week prior to intended use from the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center. The Center will reserve the blood for BJU at no charge to patients. We can arrange for one of our drivers to be on standby at the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center on the day of the surgery. If blood is needed, the driver will bring the blood to the BJU Blood Bank, and the blood can be made available within approximately 60 minutes. Alternatively, some blood can be kept in the BJU Blood Bank upon a physician’s request. In this case, normally the patient will be charged for the specially stored blood, even though the blood may not be used. Blood kept in the BJU Blood Bank is immediately available.

Family support transfusions

If the blood acquired through the above two methods is insufficient, the patient can provide his/her own donors who are willing to do what’s known as a family/friend support transfusion. BJU can also help patients find suitable donors. The donors should donate blood through the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center. The blood will be available for use at BJU within 24-48 hours after all required screening tests are completed at the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center and at BJU.

2. For non-life-threatening transfusions

BJU will obtain the necessary blood from the Beijing Tongzhou Blood Center. If the Center happens to have rarer-type blood that is needed for a BJU patient, the blood will be available within approximately 90 minutes. If no blood of that type is available at the Blood Center, the Blood Center can provide BJU with frozen red blood cells (RBCs). Since the frozen RBCs must be washed, tested, and prepared before supply, the frozen RBCs will be available after approximately 4 to 6 hours and must be used within 24 hours.

For further questions, please contact patientservices@ufh.com.cn or lab@ufh.com.cn.