Want to give blood but hate the finger pricks? New 'sting-free' device now being used

"My sense is that this will quickly catch on and throughout the country," said a Cedars-Sinai official.

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Friday, January 20, 2023
Hate finger pricks when donating blood? New 'sting-free' device helps
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A Southern California hospital has a new "sting free" device that is making those finger pricks a thing of the past.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Before donors roll up their sleeve to give blood, they have to undergo another procedure first that involves a needle called a lancet to prick your finger.

However, a Southern California hospital has a new "sting free" device that is making those finger pricks a thing of the past.

Cedars-Sinai Associate Director of Transfusion Medicine Armando Romero spoke with Eyewitness News and said before anyone can donate blood, hemoglobin levels need to be checked.

That's the blood protein that carries iron, so a low hemoglobin often indicates low iron levels. For some donors, getting a finger stab is worse than giving blood itself.

"I've gone through this process myself, and I can attest to that," he said. "At times, it does feel more painful, the actual finger stick, instead of the actual donation process, which you don't really feel that's a quick pinch. But the finger, when you have that stick, it does feel bruised for a couple of days afterwards."

At Cedars-Sinai, donors simply slip a ring-shaped sensor, called the OrSense finger cuff, on their thumb. In under a minute, the machine displays your pulse rate and hemoglobin.

"It's very accurate. We have to test it and validate it before we before we put it into action," said Romero.

Using a lancet to prick your finger cost a dollar - not to mention other supplies and the waste that goes with it.

"The bandages involved with that, having to dispose of that biohazardous waste. It's a long process," said Romero.

The OrSense machine runs about $3,000 but Romero said with all the blood donations they get, the equipment pays for itself within a few months of use.

He expects more hospitals and large blood donation organizations will follow.

"My sense is that this will quickly catch on and throughout the country," said Romero. "We'll be seeing this technology everywhere."