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A Comprehensive Guide to Central Penn Blood Bank

By Hafsa Binte Omar


Central Penn Blood Bank is a non-profit organization that provides blood products and related services to hospitals and patients in central Pennsylvania. Established in 1948, this blood bank has been serving the community for over 70 years.

A Comprehensive Guide to Central Penn Blood Bank

In this article, we will explore the history, mission, services, and impact of the Central Penn Blood Bank. We will also discuss how you can get involved and support this vital organization.


Central Penn Blood Bank was founded in 1948 by two Lancaster physicians, Dr. John F. Herr and Dr. Robert M. Orr. They recognized the need for a reliable source of blood products for local hospitals and patients.

At that time, there were no established blood banks in Lancaster or surrounding counties. Donated blood was often transported from Philadelphia or Baltimore, which could result in delays and shortages.

Dr. Herr and Dr. Orr began organizing volunteer donors and collecting blood in their offices. Their efforts quickly grew into a formal blood bank with staff members, equipment, and facilities.

Over the years, Central Penn Blood Bank has expanded its reach beyond Lancaster County to serve hospitals throughout central Pennsylvania.


The mission of Central Penn Blood Bank is to provide a safe and adequate supply of blood products to meet the needs of patients in central Pennsylvania.

This mission is achieved through four core values:

  1. Compassion – treating donors, staff members, and recipients with kindness and respect.
  2. Quality – ensuring the highest standards of safety, reliability, and efficiency.
  3. Partnership – collaborating with hospitals, community organizations, and individuals to fulfill our mission.
  4. Innovation – embracing new technologies, processes, and approaches to improve our services.


Central Penn Blood Bank offers a wide range of services related to blood donation, testing, processing, storage, distribution, transfusion, research, education.


Donating blood is the most critical service provided by Central Penn Blood Bank. This blood bank relies on volunteer donors to provide a continuous supply of blood products to meet the needs of patients.

Donors can schedule appointments at one of Central Penn Blood Bank’s eight donation centers throughout central Pennsylvania or participate in mobile blood drives hosted by community organizations, businesses, schools, and churches.

Central Penn Blood Bank accepts donations from individuals who meet specific eligibility criteria, including age, weight, health conditions, travel history, medications use, and other factors that may affect the safety and suitability of their blood.

Donors are screened for infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B/C, syphilis, West Nile virus, Zika virus. They also undergo a physical examination and provide personal information about their medical history.

Donors can choose to donate whole blood, red cells only (which contain oxygen-carrying hemoglobin), plasma (which contains clotting factors), or platelets (which help control bleeding).


Central Penn Blood Bank conducts extensive testing on all donated blood products to ensure they are safe and compatible with recipients. These tests include:

  • Typing and screening – determining the ABO/Rh blood group and checking for unexpected antibodies.
  • Infectious disease testing – detecting viral markers such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B/C/E. In addition to mandatory testing requirements set by the FDA and other regulatory bodies.
  • Specialized testing – conducting additional tests on rare or unusual blood types or matching procedures for patients with specific medical conditions.


After donations are collected and tested at Central Penn Blood Bank’s laboratories. The processing team prepares them into various components like red cells only; plasma; cryoprecipitate (a clotting factor); platelets component etc., according to donor preference & hospital needs. This process involves the use of specialized equipment like centrifuges & separators which require highly trained technicians.


The stored units are available for use in transfusions promptly or over a longer term depending on the hospital requirements. Red cell units are stored between 1 and 6°C (33.8-42.8°F) for up to 42 days, while platelets are stored at room temperature with gentle agitation for up to five days.


Once blood products have been processed, labeled and tested they are then transported to local hospitals daily by Central Penn Blood Bank distribution teams. The collection, processing & distribution of donated blood is an ongoing process that must operate uninterrupted every day of the year.


Blood transfusions are a vital part of medical care for many patients, including those undergoing surgery or cancer treatment and individuals with chronic diseases such as hemophilia or sickle cell anemia. Central Penn Blood Bank provides hospitals with a constant supply of blood products to meet these needs.


Central Penn Blood Bank also supports research studies related to blood banking & transfusion medicine through various grants & scholarships programs.


Central Penn Blood Bank educates donors, healthcare professionals, students about the importance of blood donation and transfusion safety measures via seminars; webinars etc.,


Central Penn Blood Bank’s impact on the community is significant. Its services save lives, reduce complications from surgeries/ medical treatments etc., It has increased public awareness about the importance of blood donation by partnering with schools; universities etc., and encouraging new donors to join in their mission aim.

Each year around 22k gallons (approx) donated blood are utilized locally across central Pennsylvania which support thousands of patients residing in the area where there would otherwise be a shortage of life-saving blood products without them.

Getting Involved

There are several ways you can get involved with Central Penn Blood Bank:

  1. Donate Blood – Visit one of their donor centers for scheduled appointments or mobile drives arranged by CPBB.
  2. Volunteer- help support Central Penn Blood Bank’s mission by volunteering in their blood drives or donation centers, helping with administrative & operational tasks.
  3. Host a blood drive- organizations; groups hosting events, group of people can host a blood drive with CPBB assistance.
  4. Support fundraising- Central Penn Blood Bank welcomes donations to support their ongoing efforts, sponsorships as well as awarding grants and scholarships for research.


Central Penn Blood Bank is an essential organization that provides vital services related to blood donations, testing, processing, distribution, transfusion as well as education and research programs. It relies on the support of donors, volunteers, community organizations to maintain a safe & reliable source of blood products to help improve patients’ quality of life. By donating or supporting them financially/volunteering your time/ resources you can play an important role in supporting this life-saving work!


What is Central Penn Blood Bank?

Central Penn Blood Bank is a nonprofit organization that provides a safe and adequate supply of blood and blood products to hospitals in central Pennsylvania.

Why is donating blood important?

Donating blood helps save lives as it is used to support those who need it during medical procedures, surgeries, or emergencies. By donating, you become a part of a community that makes a difference!

How can I donate to the Central Penn Blood Bank?

You can donate to the Central Penn Blood Bank by registering for an appointment on their website or by visiting one of their donation centers in your area.

Is there eligibility criteria for donating blood?

Yes, there are certain eligibility criteria that you need to fulfill in order to donate blood. These may include factors such as age, weight, health conditions or medication usage. The staff at the Central Penn Blood Bank will help you determine if you meet all the requirements necessary to donate safely.

Can anyone get infected with a disease while donating blood?

No. At the Central Penn Blood Bank, safety and sterility measures are strictly followed when collecting and processing donated blood. All equipment used during the process is sterile and disposable which eliminates any risk of contamination or infection transmission between donors.

How long does the entire donation process take?

The entire donation process usually takes around 45 minutes or so from start to finish – this includes registration, mini-physical exam, interviews, and actual donation time. However, your actual time spent donating may depend on factors like wait times or appointment availability on busy days.

Are there any side effects after donating?

It’s normal to feel minor discomfort such as lightheadedness, dizziness or fatigue immediately after donating. However, these usually go away with rest and hydration. In rare cases, more severe reactions may occur but these are uncommonly mild and temporary.

Can I donate blood if I recently got a vaccine shot?

Yes, you can! There is no waiting period after vaccine shots unless otherwise specified by your healthcare provider or the Central Penn Blood Bank staff based on the type of vaccine you received.

How often can I donate blood?

You can donate blood every 56 days or once per two months at the Central Penn Blood Bank provided that all eligibility criteria continue to be met. Donating regularly helps ensure that there’s a consistent supply of blood available for those in need.

What happens to my donated blood after it’s collected?

Your donated blood goes through several rigorous testing and processing protocols at the Central Penn Blood Bank before it reaches its intended destination – a patient in need. The processing ensures that it is properly screened, separated into various components such as red cells, platelets, plasma, etc., and stored under optimal conditions until it’s needed.


Hafsa Binte Omar

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