Plasma center urges donations

Plasma is used to make medications and vaccines.


RYAN PUGH | The Daily Evergreen

Manager Jim Taylor demonstrates the machines used for plasma donations Tuesday at GCAM Plasma Center in downtown Pullman.

MARIAH INMAN, Evergreen reporter

Pullman’s plasma center hopes for more college students to donate.

Currently, the Pullman Green Cross America Plasma Center gets 50 to 70 percent of its donations from students at the University of Idaho and WSU, said Christopher Pham, plasma center marketing specialist.

Pham encouraged healthy college students to donate plasma, and the center will compensate them for their time. This is not used for direct transfusions of plasma, instead it is used to make medications.

“I just want people to understand that there’s a great demand for it,” Pham said. “We’d love to see more students coming in and asking questions, being educated on that.”

The center will allow people to donate twice in one week, as plasma can be remade quickly by drinking water and eating green vegetables and meat. Although, other plasma centers may have different policies as to how often they allow people to donate.

The process takes about 30 to 45 minutes, said Jared Bowcutt, plasma center regional operations manager.

Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood, which is approximately 90 percent water. The plasmapheresis machine separates red and white blood cells from the plasma, and the cells are returned to the donor, Bowcutt said.

HARRINA HWANG | The Daily Evergreen
The plasmapheresis machine separates the plasma from the red and white blood cells.

Some of the conditions medications made from plasma proteins treat are, critical care for the treatment off shock and burns and for vaccines such as Hepatitis B and Chicken Pox.

“I’ve met a lot of our patients,” Bowcutt said, “and the amount of gratitude you get from them because they know how tenuous their situation is to be able to get medication — it’s pretty moving.”

The global need for plasma has increased, especially because it can’t be made synthetically.

“It’s something we can’t do and we need it,” Pham said. “There’s people whose lives kind of depend on that.”

For the first visit, the donor will be paid $25, and $35 for the second visit during the same week, Bowcutt said.

The center welcomes groups such as fraternities, sororities and clubs to raise money for their organization, Pham said.

He said the center requires every donor to have a picture ID, a Social Security card and proof of address, weigh over 110 pounds, be in good health, have a 38- to 54-percent red blood cell level and 6 to 9 percent protein level, Pham said.

This week is International Plasma Awareness Week. Pullman’s Green Cross America Plasma Center is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and is closed on Sundays. The center is located downtown on 320 E Main St.

This article has been corrected. Facts that were incorrect are as followed: plasma from this center is not used for transfusion such as trauma accidents, it is used to make medications and vaccines. Donors are compensated for their time, they are not receiving money for their plasma. For the first donation in a week, donors will be compensated $25, not $20. They are closed Monday and Sunday, not just Sunday.