“The most interesting medical journal that has come to this desk in a long time is Number 3 of the first volume of the Hawaii Medical Journal. Although the publication date given on the cover is January, the Journal did not arrive until the middle of April.” (North Carolina Medical Journal, May, 1942)
“The delay in the publication of this issue of the Journal is due in part to the pressure of activity following the events of December 7th (1941) which delayed the preparation of material by the authors and in part to the necessity for securing permission from the office of the Military Governor for continuance of publication. That permission was finally received on January 15th…”
“The whole issue breathes the spirit of American medicine at its best. The first page of reading matter is headed ‘War Came to Hawaiʻi’, and briefly retells the story of the Pearl Harbor tragedy.”
“A dramatic story of the Honolulu Blood and Plasma Bank is told by its director, Dr Forrest J Pinkerton. He first tells of how ‘wounded men … very evidently marked for death … still live because of the life-giving plasma poured back into their veins.”
“A call for donors was broadcast over local radio stations and the response was overwhelming. From a previous maximum of 8-donors a day, 4-days a week, volunteers were now being bled at the rate of 50 an hour, 10-hours a day, 7-days a week. This continued over a period of 2-weeks. Every available doctor and nurse was enlisted to assist.”
“Men and women waited in line for hours. Soldiers stood their guns with fixed bayonets in the surgery hallway and rolled up their sleeves and helped; sailors gave their few precious hours of liberty to wait their turn. Mothers asked strangers to hold their small children and took their turns on the surgery tables.”
“Civilian defense workers from Pearl Harbor, and workers from Red Hill, red eyed from long hours of welding, stopped by to donate before snatching a few hours rest.”
“A crew of husky iron workers in their oily work clothes came en masse; whole crews from dry docks and inter-island steamships; the dock workers and society folks waiting in line side by side to do their part. Sugar and pineapple plantation employees came direct from their work in the fields…”
“The question most commonly asked was ‘How soon can I come again?’” (North Carolina Medical Journal, May, 1942)
Founded in 1941, the organization was originally known as the Honolulu Blood and Plasma Bank operating out of The Queen’s Hospital.
The Blood Bank operated as a war-time agency with the outbreak of World War II returning to its civilian status in 1942. Over the years, the name changed to Blood Bank of Hawaiʻi, services were expanded to include neighbor island blood drives and Hawaii’s unique ethnic population became nationally recognized as a source for many types of rare blood.
Later, to encourage folks to donate, ‘Fang’ called into Aku’s morning radio program (Hal Lewis – J Akuhead Pupule) to announce a coming Blood Drive. That was Betsy Mitchell (the Blood Lady;) she was Director of Donor Recruitment and Community Relations for the Blood Bank.
The Mitchells used to live in our old neighborhood on Aumoana on Kaneohe Bay Drive. In the early-‘80s she moved to Volcano, co-founded and was past president of the Cooper Center Council, and was one of the most energetic and community-minded people you would ever meet. Unfortunately, Betsy passed away on December 16, 2013.
I looked forward to the monthly meetings we had in Volcano; I think of Betsy a lot, especially when I give blood.
Unlike the post-Pearl Harbor waiting lines to give blood, the Blood Bank of Hawai‘i needs folks to drop into their offices or mobile locations to make donations to meet Hawaiʻi’s needs; they require approximately 250 donors every day.
There’s no substitute for blood. If people lose blood from surgery or injury, or if their bodies can’t produce enough, there is only one place to turn – volunteer blood donors.
You may donate if you are in good health, weigh at least 110 pounds, have a valid photo ID with birth date and are at least 18 years old (or 17 years old with signed Blood Bank parent/legal guardian consent form.)
Every donor completes a health history questionnaire and screening interview to identify behaviors that indicate a high risk for carrying blood borne disease. There is strict confidentiality.
They like my blood (O-negative,) it’s a universal donor type (can be transfused to almost any patient in need;) I’m also CMV-negative (not been exposed to the cytomegalovirus (so I am a ‘baby donor.’))
They regularly call me for donations – there is an 8-week wait period between donations. I was called again last week. The process is relatively painless – the worst part for me is when they pull the tape holding the needle down and it pulls the hair on my arm.
Please consider giving blood.
More on the Blood Bank of Hawaii here: