Where Does the Blood Go?

Marandah Mangra-Dutcher, Copy Editor

Having blood drawn is not a pleasant experience. A nurse spends ages poking and prodding your skin in order to find a vessel, and once they do you still have to wait a few minutes in order for the tube or vial to fill. After the whole experience, it is common for there to be bruising and swelling in the puncture spot. Then you have to wait for your results from a laboratory. Overall, the whole ordeal is just uncomfortable. However, what I want to know is what happens to the blood after it it tested.

I can assume that they dispose of it, but how do they dispose of it? The lab technicians could be sending it to some Dracula impersonator. The techs could be sending the blood to someone trying to make a clone of this specific person in order to make a little cash on the side. They could BE the Dracula impersonator. We do not know, or at least I did not.

Logically speaking the techs probably get rid of it in like a biohazard bin or something along those lines but in order to be sure I contacted a professional. Madison Symber is a Microbiology Lab Assistant for Mercy Hospital, she analyzes organic substances such as blood, food, and drugs. “Once testing is complete on a blood specimen, any remaining blood serum or plasma is stored in a walk in fridge,” Symber said. “Specimens are usually held for seven days before they are disposed of.” Blood has an expiration date.

“We throw the tubes in big biohazard bins, and then a biomedical waste company takes them away to be processed and thrown away,” Symber said. My original thinking was correct however, not entirely. This raises another question, what does the biomedical waste company do with the blood. In researching I found that there are three main ways that biomedical waste companies destroy blood.

Number one is called Autoclave where steam under high pressure is used to kill potential contaminate in medical waste.

Number two is called incineration, which essentially is burning the waste at extremely high temperatures. This is most commonly used when dealing with dead bodies whose family calls for incineration.

And finally number three, Chemical Agents. Waste is exposed to a chemicals that destroy the infectious element that made said waste dangerous.

Now I can rest easy knowing where the blood goes once it leaves my body. There is no clone of me walking the world that was made from my blood. There is no Vampire drinking my blood to survive. Blood is tested for diseases and other issues, but then destroyed in one of three ways by a company.