JBSA-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
The Brooke Army Medical Center stands as a leader in meeting and supporting the healthcare needs of the Joint Base San Antonio military community and the city of San Antonio.
It serves as one of two level one trauma centers for the region, the only U.S. Department of Defense burn center and the only DOD bone marrow transplant center. With these services, it places a great demand on the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston community for blood and blood products.
In order to improve the blood supply for patients at the San Antonio Military Medical Center and to meet the requirements of the Army Blood Program, the Akeroyd Blood Donor Center at the Brooke Army
Medical Center, or BAMC, began working with staff at the Southern Regional Medical Command (now called the Regional Heath Command-Central) transportation section in March 2015 to obtain a new mobile blood unit.
Nearly a year and a half later, the donor center took possession of its new blood mobile in late September.
The fully contained, state-of-the-art vehicle has four slide-out sections that allow expansion of the interior work area to ensure maximum comfort for blood donors and staff while efficiently utilizing the work space.
Three private interview areas and six reclining donor chairs – each with a personal flip-down DVD player and wireless headphones – provide donors with maximum comfort during their blood donation.
Additionally, two quiet generators power the vehicle during mobile operations. The blood mobile also has an automatic hydraulic leveling system which will be critical to the proper operation of automated blood collection systems once installed.
The Akeroyd Blood Donor Center is committed to increasing the supply of blood in JBSA-Fort Sam Houston area and keeping donated blood inside the military’s healthcare system.
“It will take a couple more months for the blood mobile to be fully operational,” said Army Maj. Jennifer Marin, BAMC deputy director for blood services. “Once validated and all the instrumentation is on board, the primary role of the new mobile blood unit will be to reach out to permanent party population to collect plasma for the freeze-dried plasma program.”
According to Marin, the team is hoping to increase the plasma donor population by bringing the collection process directly to the donors instead of requiring them come to the donor center.
Unlike fresh frozen plasma which is required to be stored at negative 18 degrees Celsius, freeze-dried plasma does not require refrigeration or dry ice, making it easier to transport in theater.
Because there is no refrigeration or electrical requirements, switching to freeze-dried plasma will reduce the battlefield requirements. Reducing this requirement means the freeze-dried product can be deployed further forward than fresh frozen plasma.
“The blood donated during our mobile drives will be used support the Army Blood Program’s missions and for patients at the San Antonio Military Medical Center,” said Army Staff Sgt. Amy Klug, Akeroyd Blood Donor Center non-commissioned officer in charge. “We are planning to collect approximately 15-20 units of donated plasma each week.”
For more information or questions about how to help, call the ASBP blood donor recruiter for the Akeroyd Blood Donor Center at 295-4655 or 295-4989.
The center is open from 7:30 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday, and is located at B1240 Harney Road, behind Budge Dental Clinic on JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.