By: Alex Keilty, American Red Cross volunteer
The request arrives from a local Kaiser Permanente hospital just before lunch: a patient needs platelets STAT! “Stat” means immediately; if you watch hospital dramas, you might already know that. But this is no fictional TV show, it’s a real assignment for Nataly Breisath, a Hospital Services Tech in the American Red Cross blood lab in San José.
Nataly grabs a clear bag of the yellowish platelets from the agitator – a machine whose shelves slide back and forth constantly to keep the platelets full of oxygen. She packs the bag into a box bearing the Red Cross logo and marked “Rush: Keep at Room Temperature.” It will be driven to the hospital immediately.
Although the order form doesn’t say who the patient is or why they need platelets, that component of blood can be essential to surviving surgeries, fighting cancer, chronic diseases and traumatic injuries.
Is it stressful for Nataly fulfilling orders for blood products from local hospitals?