Even with a scheduled appointment to give blood today, I still had to wait over a half an hour just to begin the interview process, which itself takes another 15-20 minutes. Ridiculous, I thought. What’s the point of having a bar-coded donor card if me and other regular donors still have to answer the same 40+ questions about our entire histories? Why waste so much time when they know the answers I’ve given every previous visit? It’s not like the hot-tub time machine has whisked me to sub-Saharan Africa for tattoos, prostitute sex, and dura mater transplants. Why not confine their queries to the past 12 months and get to the leeching?
“Because the FDA is retarded,” said the phlebotomist. That’s a direct quote.
According to her, the FDA requires the Red Cross to ask the same questions every time you donate even though they also order them to keep a database of donors containing your answers. The phlebotomist said she had likewise challenged the repetitive questionnaire during her training courses, but the FDA demands that everyone who walks through the door be treated as if he or she is a first-time donor. That’s why the process takes so long.