Whole Blood

The most common form of blood donation is a whole blood donation. The entire process takes 45 minutes, on average. Donors first complete a mini-physical where our technicians check your temperature, blood pressure, pulse, hemoglobin, etc. Donors then answer a series of health, lifestyle, and travel questions. These questions are required by the FDA to determine a donor’s eligibility.

After the screening session is complete, the actual donation process takes less than 15 minutes. The donor’s arm is sanitized thoroughly, and the needle feels like a small pinch. The process is very similar to what you would experience if your blood were being tested at your doctor’s office.

To thank you for your donation, receive a special giveaway from MEDIC.

All donors are asked to wait for 15 minutes following their donation and enjoy some refreshments before returning to their daily activities.

Double Red

A double red donation isn’t that different than a whole blood donation. Instead of the blood going from the donor into a bag, the blood goes into a cell separating machine called Alyx. The Alyx machine contains a sterile kit which separates the red blood cells from the other blood components. Those other components are returned to the donor. The process repeats several times for about 30 minutes.

Drop for drop; donors are giving the same amount of blood; however, instead of some of that blood being made of platelets and plasma, all of the donations are made of red blood cells. More than 70% of all transfusions are red blood cells. Trauma victims and patients undergoing surgery are the most frequent users of red blood cells.

Not everyone can make a double red cell donation. All donors must have the right, stable veins. Women must be at least 5′5″ and weigh at least 150 pounds. Men must be at least 5′1″ tall and weigh at least 130 pounds.

This type of donation is excellent for donors on a busy schedule. Double red cells can be given every 112 days allowing donors to make the same lifesaving impact while making half as many trips. Double red cells can be given at our Downtown Knoxville, Farragut, Athens, Crossville Donor Centers, or on any of MEDIC’s mobile buses.


A platelet donation uses a process called apheresis to collect platelets. During a platelet donation, blood is drawn from your arm and passed through a sterile component-separating machine. The machine separates the blood and collects the platelets while safely returning the remaining blood components back to you.
As many as three patients can be treated with a single donation. The amount of time you can spare typically determines how many patients can be treated. Many patients who need platelets are undergoing chemotherapy or organ transplant and have weakened immune systems.
Because platelets only last five days, there is a constant need for a steady donor base. Our system will maximize donations while allowing us to respect donor schedules.
MEDIC staff will need accurate donor’s height and weight information. Donors will need to be hydrated and should have avoided aspirin for 2 days prior to donating. Donors can give platelets 24 times a year.
Platelets can be given at our Downtown Knoxville, Farragut, Athens and Crossville Donor Centers.

First-time donors should call 865-521-2682 or 865-521-2684 to discuss eligibility and make an appointment. Please do not self-schedule if you are a first-time donor.


A person who donates whole blood is also playing a critical role in donating plasma. Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood. When you donate whole blood, plasma and red cells are separated and collected for transfusions. Plasma helps trauma patients, burn victims, cancer patients, and countless others. Whereas the O negative blood type is the universal red cell donor, AB blood is the universal plasma donor. MEDIC asks all of our AB blood type donors (only 6% of the population), to consider a plasma-only donation.  The entire process takes about 25 minutes longer than a regular whole blood donation and is performed using the same process as a double red donation. The only difference is instead of keeping red cells and returning plasma to the donor; the machine collects plasma and returns red blood cells to the donor. Donors can give plasma every 30 days. This donation type is only available at our Downtown Knoxville and Farragut Donor Centers.