Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Day at PCCI Plasma

I neglected to tell them of a pierced ear from thirteen years ago. That's my sin.

First a little background to the story. I have gone to two different plasma centers in the past decoade. I started back in 2002 when Melissa and I needed some extra money, and Alpha Plasma Center on Center Street in Provo (now closed) saved our bacon. I'd donate twice a week and it helped put food on the table.

Fast forward a few years, to 2007, and to PCCI, a plasma center located behind Sizzler on State Street in Orem. I started going again for much the same reason, earn some extra money to feed my family. They are pleasant, helpful, offer a service that helps bring money to me. It was a mutually beneficial relationship.

When they originally screen their applicants, they gather all sorts of information. They ask you questions from a questionnaire, give a physical, and keep charts of you. They may ask: have you ever been or traveled to Europe? The Moon? Had KJD, KGB, CNN, or ESPN? Had sex with a man, had sex for money, had sex with a golf shoe, touched a immunization site of someone who has a hepatitis vaccine, murdered vegetables and drunk of their blood; and are you aware you should report symptoms of west Nile virus for up to six hundred weeks after having them? Yes I am being a smart ass on some of their questions. I am angry tonight, as I just got permanently deferred because of a damn questionnaire.

Never mind the fact that I refer people to their location, have no diseases, donate regularly, never tamper with their machines, and never tell one of the phlebotomists to go shove that needle up their own arm when I get stuck wrong and bleed all over the place. I am the perfect donor, or was until 45 minutes ago.

No, I neglected to tell them in a recent second physical that I had pierced ears in 1996. Thirteen years ago. Most of their donors and their lab techs were five when that happened. Never mind the fact that I told them originally and it is still in my damn paperwork. Never mind that they ask in the daily questionnaire if you have had any piercings or tattoos in the last six months. No, I signed something saying I had answered correctly to the best of my ability. I didn't see the fine print that I was to tell the truth and nothing but the truth so help me God. They didn't even give me a Bible to swear on! That fine print was their clause that if untruthful I could be permanently deferred.

On snap! I also forgot to tell them about another major surgery I had. I was circumcised when I was a day old. Holy batshit! Run for the hills! My plasma MUST BE INFECTED (never mind the fact that additional screening sets the standard that I am clean). They think this one is a compulsive liar, so I must be lying about everything else. Let's permanently defer him!

Yes, to add further insult to injury, to rub salt into the smarting wound, all their plasma products are tested for disease every time, no exceptions. They are screened before being made into medicine, otherwise any blood-borne pathogen carrying person could donate, regardless of past history, and resultant products (to be given to other people) be damnned.

Why was I asked to talk to their manager? Because this rule is set up to make a point. They are telling me 'You lied. You neglected to mention in your re-examination that you had piercings. We already know this as you told us before, but our bureaucratic bullshit knee jerk rule is there because once upon a time we would take any crack-whore or junkie off the street. Our rules keep us from making an exception'.

So, donor beware. They want your plasma, but if you overlook anything, your ass is deferred permanently. To illustrate a point, even the collateral consequences of a misdemeanor are gone after five years. This is for life. For missing a single question.

Jay, you may be asking yourself, why not just go to another place? Plasma centers are springing up like fungi after rain. Why not go to Joe's Plasma just around the corner?

The killer here is the permanent deferral. They now think my blood and blood products are suspect. Because I neglected to tell them what they already had record on. You heard it, already had record on!

And THAT is why I am angry.

I am clean, willing, and need the money. But they apparently do not give a flying fark about that.

As I said above, donor beware. I am now logged in a national database as unable to donate. Don't you just love corporate knee jerk rules?

This donor is going to keep his plasma, thank you very much. And the plasma center can shove their rules (and their needles, forms, and bureaucracy) straight up their collective asses.



hpow said...

Well said, Jay.

islandgirl said...

Don't hold anything back though, I'm sure you gave that manager a mouthful, right? Any way to appeal this decision?