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Plasma Donation Centers Are Overcrowded But Donations Can Not Meet Demand

The waiting room is full at PlasmaCare Franklinton on West Broad Street. As Rick Jones of Grove City waits just outside the door for his name to be called he sees more and more people walking in but no one walking out. Jones said he would donate more often if it was not so crowded.

"The time and the hassle, it's really not worth it," Jones said.

Bio-Blood Component on North High Street also has a full waiting room. A small television mounted to the wall and a few vending machines help donors pass the time. Assistant manager Jahnvi Kaushik said the clinic averages 100 donors a day six days a week. She tries to get people in and out as fast as possible but the actual donation time takes about an hour and a half and this time of the year brings in more people than usual.

"I think through out the holiday season, as probably with other donor centers, I think there is an increase in donors just depending on, you know, people wanting to get a little extra money for Christmas and gifts and things like that," Kaushik said.

Kaushik said she sees a variety of people coming in either as repeat donors or for the first time.

"We have students who come in because they want a little extra cash, we have people come in who are working professionals who are coming in just because they know there is a plasma shortage and this is something good to do and we people who are living pay check to pay check and this is some gas money just a little money on the side."

Demitrius Gilmore sits patiently in the waiting room here. He has been donating plasma twice a week for the past year and says the time commitment is frustrating but the money makes up for it.

"At times this is a little difficult, but, you just have to be patient."

At other plasma centers around Columbus, the story is much the same; long lines in exchange for a little cash.

Doug Jackson has been waiting in line at ZLB Plasma on North High Street for three hours. He said the holiday season may bring a few extra people in but he sees little difference.

"People are standing up, sitting down, they are everywhere. It is always like that," Jackson said.

Jackson donates twice a week and receives $30 each time. He recently lost his job and says the extra cash helps him make ends meet.

"It helps for gas and when you are looking for a job and all that kind of stuff."

Jackson said he donates only when he is short on cash, but others such as Dawn Locust, cite different motivations. Locust said she has been donating plasma regularly for 15 years, in part, because of a family tragedy.

"When I was in the 9th grade my mom was in a car accident and plasma can help burn victims to have liver transplants and it makes medicine so that is why I did it," Locust said.

While waiting rooms at plasma centers around the city were all crowded, Bio-Blood assistant manager Jahnvi Kaushik said there are actually too few donors to meet increasing demand. As a result, Kaushik said Bio-Blood will raise their rates and more aggressively market their services. Plasma is used in hospitals and trauma centers to help stop bleeding.