By Mr. Perry Jefferies (Army Medicine)June 24, 2010
Fort Hood, TX (June 14, 2010) - You can reassign a blood banker, but you can't keep the passion of blood out of her veins.
Major Barbara Bachman, the laboratory manager at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center visited the Robertson Blood Center at Fort Hood, Texas and donated blood on World Blood Donor Day, June 14, 2010. She is intimately familiar with the Robertson Blood Center; her past assignments include serving as the Chief of Donor Center Operations and as the Deputy Director prior to her command.
After that, she served as the commander of the 932d Blood Detachment from February 2006 until May 2008, deploying the unit to Afghanistan from March 2007 until their return in May of 2008. The unit was known as the "Blood Boxers," both for the Collins boxes they used to deliver blood and blood products to frontline units as well as their fighting spirit.
"I came today because it is World Blood Donor Day and I wanted to donate" said Bachman. She remembered her time spent as a commander fondly but easily related it to the importance of strong collections at military installations.
"We performed all the validations on the unit and were the first ever to collect platelets in Afghanistan. I was so proud of my soldiers. We fought to get a lot of things in place - that preparation was probably about 95% of what we did," Bachman notes proudly.
One of her goals was to improve the safety of blood collecting during emergency drives in theater. Bachman recalls, "We began conducting routine donor screenings to standard. We only had eight people assigned so they really jumped!"
When enough blood is collected and sent to forward areas on time, the need to conduct emergency drives for deployed soldiers is reduced. In Afghanistan, Bachman spent a lot of time flying between medical facilities to teach and promote the use of frozen blood in theater. Modern technology creates a frozen blood product that when thawed and deglycerolized, can be used for transfusions.
"I think it's awesome that changes at the donor center will align the medical center with frozen blood product capabilities," adds Bachman. When all changes are complete, the Robertson Blood Center will become the Defense Center of Excellence for Apheresis Training and a major hub for the Army's Frozen Blood Program. Although Bachman now leads soldiers at the laboratory (and was selected for promotion to Lieutenant Colonel), she still has a keen eye on the Robertson Blood Center.
Bachman notes lastly, "This all goes to working smarter, not harder. We [the Army Blood Program facilities] are changing with the times."
To find out more about the Armed Services Blood Program or to make an appointment please visit us online: www.militaryblood.dod.mil. To interact directly with the program, become an ASBP Facebook fan at: www.facebook.com/militaryblood.