Leeches Eat for Free

Leeches Eat for Free

A Story by Evan James Devereaux
"

This is an essay I wrote while under the influence of wax-form marijuana. The professor gave me an A, but I couldn't care less about some bureaucrat's opinion. Let me know what you think.

"

Evan Devereaux

English 134

2/20/16


Cover Letter

I was very grateful for this assignment. I revel in the opportunity to exact my personal agenda, especially when I am graded on my effectiveness in doing so. I  have chosen a topic that I feel passionately about and have for a long time. I enjoy contributing to saving lives as well as improving and preserving my own. The goal of the paper I have written is to convince you that for the United Blood Services to adopt more mutualistic policies would be greatly beneficial to both people in need of blood and people in need of supplementary income like myself. I experienced minimal difficulties in finding viable information to support my argument, really the only difficulty I encountered was finding cooperation with the representatives of the United Blood Services when probing them for answers to, frankly, simple and reasonable questions.









Leeches Eat for Free

Most of us are taught that nothing in this world is free. Everything in life comes at a cost, and life itself can be extremely unaffordable. Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a projection of the cost of living for every major city in every state of our nation. According to their Living Wage Calculator, in the city of San Luis Obispo the necessary annual income of a childless, single adult that is financially independent is 24,761 dollars. This means that if I wanted to be able to support myself right now, I would have to work a little over fifty hours a week. Of course I would have to drop out of school as well because the cost of tuition in addition to Glasmeier’s projection of living expenses would require me to work more hours than there are in a week. This reality is disheartening and troubles me deeply, however I have to acknowledge that there are people in much worse circumstances than me. For example: children suffering from anaemia, women that are experiencing complications during their pregnancy, or victims of severe accidents in trauma. These people have a common need for clean, healthy blood, which luckily for me, is constantly pumping through my readily available veins. Before I present my argument I want to provide you with three definitions from the American Oxford Dictionary.

  1. Parasitism: Habitual reliance on or exploitation of others

ex: tapeworms, fleas, ticks

  1. Mutualism: The doctrine that mutual dependence is necessary to social well-being

ex: bees and flowers, zebras and oxpeckers, dogs and humans

  1. Hero: A person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities

ex: firefighter, police officer, blood donor

My argument is, as I hope to demonstrate in this paper, not unreasonable nor ill-conceived but rather a logical proposal. Its application would see a more mutualistic society and benefit all parties involved. I am arguing for the financial compensation of blood donors.

According to the United Blood Services’ website, the nonprofit organization has existed for 73 years and was first established as the Salt River Valley Blood Bank in Phoenix, Arizona. Their website also suggests that blood donors are heroes for their generous contributions to saving lives. But hero and free don’t necessarily need to go hand in hand. There are plenty of occupations that our society considers heroic that definitely do not work for free. Firefighters, highway patrol, even navy seals; they all save lives and are recognized for their brave and noble actions not only with praise, admiration, and hollywood movie portrayals, but they are also recognized for their time and effort with sizeable salaries and pensions. United Blood Services recognize the time and effort of the heroes whose blood they rely on with a reward system. The description of the reward system appears as follows on their website: “All who give blood during a calendar year are automatically recognized and rewarded in the Hero in Me Program. The program uses Gold, Silver and Bronze recognition levels to offer benefits to donors who give regularly during a calendar year. The program also offers reward points for specific activities; these reward points can be redeemed for thank-you gifts.” Curious to know why those that surrender their blood for the greater good of mankind don’t deserve more than a thank you, I decided to call United Blood Services and ask a representative. After being passed around to a few different people, I was finally connected to man who calmly told me, “We depend on the generosity of volunteer donors. Studies show that the safest blood comes from volunteer donors, so the State of California does not allow us to pay donors.” The line sounded rehearsed so I hung up and Googled it. The first result was a frequently-asked-questions page from the San Diego Blood Bank website. The same line that the representative I spoke with used was provided almost verbatim on the website as an answer to a question regarding payment for blood. I was unable to find, however, any evidence of this claim or any research to back it up on either the San Diego Blood Bank website or the United Blood Services website. This idea that the safest donations come from volunteer donors, seemingly unbacked by any research, intrigued me none the less. I decided to look into programs similar to blood banks.

Sperm banks do not subscribe to the same philosophy of the United Blood Services. According to the California Cryobank website, sperm donors are paid up to 125 dollars per donation and are allowed to donate up to three times a week. That means as a sperm donor I could make 1,500 dollars a month. Interestingly enough, their website calls its donors heroes just as the United Blood Services does. With 1,500 extra dollars a month I could work part time, go to college full time and still be able to live comfortably on my own by supplementing my income with the money I receive from the sperm bank. So why aren’t sperm banks concerned with the safety of  the donations they receive? Why not follow the model of the United Blood Services and rely solely on unpaid donated sperm? I came to the conclusion that to find the answer I would have to compare the requirements of donor eligibility for blood donors and sperm donors.

It is surprisingly difficult to become a sperm donor. Upon acceptance of a prospective donor’s application, the prospective donor will undergo a four-phase screening process.  Phase 1 is concerned with determining the eligibility of the donor. The donor must provide a sample to be lab tested and is required to be able to produce above average levels of sperm as a normal male. The donor will then meet with the Donor Coordinator and provide a brief family history and leave a second sample for testing. Phase 2 involves more extensive screening. Donors will provide weekly samples as well as submit to STD/genetic disease testing. Donors will meet with a genetic counselor to fill out a detailed family history form. Donors will then write a personal narrative and provide a baby photo. Donors will be subjected to various interviews with “Healthworkers” and submit to another health examination. Phase 3 requires the donor to enter into a contract with the sperm bank that binds the donor to a 6-12 month period in which they are expected to provide at least one sample a week to the bank and have quarterly blood and urine tests and biannual physical exams. The last phase of the process is a final blood test six months after the donor’s last sample collection. Other eligibility requirements for sperm donors include: being between 20 and 39 years old, being at least five feet and seven inches tall, having or pursuing a college degree, and being able to legally work in the United States. All of this information is outlined on the Sperm Bank of California’s website. Compared to these stipulations, blood donor requirements are extremely minimal. When I donated blood last year, I was asked to fill out a few forms regarding my health, medications I use, my weight and height, and my recent sexual activity. This process took not but forty-five minutes and one hour later, the United Blood Services had my life essence all bagged up and ready to save lives. It seems to me as if the UBS’s argument that unpaid donations are safer isn’t very valid. Clearly the rigorous screenings conducted by sperm banks are far more extensive and they can still manage to pay their donors more than a part-time job can.  

I don’t even have to make an appointment with a sperm bank to know that I wouldn’t qualify as a donor. This is disappointing because I certainly could use an extra 1,500 dollars a month. However, I know for a fact that I qualify as a blood donor because the United Blood Services has contacted me over the phone nearly every other day since my first donation a year ago to ask if they can take more blood out of me. When I politely refuse, the representatives attempt to sway me by informing me that less than 1 in 10 people donate blood in the United States. But this problem would easily be quelled if blood donors had monetary incentive. And the idea that this notion is a selfish one is ludicrous. Find me one CHP officer willing to abandon his/her 92,640 dollar base salary (which does not include additional pay incentives or overtime compensation they receive) simply because the gratification of saving lives should be payment enough. And when “Donor Recruitment Representatives” working for United Blood Services are making 41,244 dollars a year on average and “Donor Outreach Supervisors” are making 41,510 dollars a year, why aren’t the people that actually make their  whole system possible being compensated? If I was being paid 125 dollars per blood donation just as sperm donors are, I’d be down at the clinic as often as they would allow me and I believe a lot more than 1 in 10 people would follow suit.

Mutualism is a far superior system to parasitism. When both parties are benefitting it makes for a more progressive community. It makes sense that people that need money and people that need blood should be able to help each other. If a market for sperm can exist, surely a blood market can as well. The United Blood Services calls its donors heroes. If fleas, ticks, and other blood-suckers could talk, they'd call us heroes too, but when leeches eat for free, who's the real sucker?

















Work Cited


“Blood Donor Qualifications” UnitedBloodServices.org, N/P, accessed 2/15/16

Blood Systems Inc., “Saving Lives Since 1943” UnitedBloodServices.org, 2016, N/P, accessed 2/16/16

N/A,“California Highway Patrol Salary and Benefits-Officer”CHP.CA.gov, 2016, accessed 2/20/16


Glasmeier, Amy K., “Living Wage Calculator,” LivingWage.mit.edu, 2016, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, accessed 2/16/16


Glassdoor, “United Blood Services Salaries”Glassdoor.com/Salary/United-Blood-Services-

Salaries, Glassdoor Inc., updated February 8, 2016, accessed 2/20/16


The Sperm Bank of California - Reproductive Technologies, Inc., “How to Qualify as a Sperm Donor” TheSpermBankofCa.org, The Sperm Bank of California, accessed 2/20/16


U.S Department of Health and Human Services, “Guidance for Industry: Eligibility Determination for Donors of Human Cells, Tissues, and Cellular and Tissue-Based Products (HCT/Ps)” FDA.gov, August 2007, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, accessed 2/15/16








© 2016 Evan James Devereaux



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Featured Review

I 100% agree with your argument here. You were very effective in convincing the reader that blood donators should be rewarded with more substantial payments, and the comparison with sperm banks strengthened that argument (it even made me wish to be a sperm donor - and I'm a girl!) I think you had a very strong introduction and solid conclusion. I liked the fact that you stated those three definitions at the beginning, as it helped to establish a connection with your overall argument; the "mutualism is a far superior system to parasitism" idea ended the essay with a positive tone because, instead of representing negative criticism of the United Blood Services' practices, you provided a solution in which all parties can be benefitted. I particularly liked "If fleas, ticks, and other blood-suckers could talk..." as a closer.

Finally, I think it is funny that you wrote this while being high! You demonstrate a remarkable clarity of thought that I could never pull off while being under the influence!

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Evan James Devereaux

1 Year Ago

Thank you for the kind words! Most of what I write is written under the influence of something or ot.. read more



Reviews

I 100% agree with your argument here. You were very effective in convincing the reader that blood donators should be rewarded with more substantial payments, and the comparison with sperm banks strengthened that argument (it even made me wish to be a sperm donor - and I'm a girl!) I think you had a very strong introduction and solid conclusion. I liked the fact that you stated those three definitions at the beginning, as it helped to establish a connection with your overall argument; the "mutualism is a far superior system to parasitism" idea ended the essay with a positive tone because, instead of representing negative criticism of the United Blood Services' practices, you provided a solution in which all parties can be benefitted. I particularly liked "If fleas, ticks, and other blood-suckers could talk..." as a closer.

Finally, I think it is funny that you wrote this while being high! You demonstrate a remarkable clarity of thought that I could never pull off while being under the influence!

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Evan James Devereaux

1 Year Ago

Thank you for the kind words! Most of what I write is written under the influence of something or ot.. read more
I have to agree with you on this. I feel you put forth a very good argument. It is well written and easy to follow your logic.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Evan James Devereaux

1 Year Ago

Thank you very much! I appreciate you taking the time to read it.

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Added on March 28, 2016
Last Updated on March 29, 2016
Tags: essay, blood, blood drive, united blood services, blood donors, financial compensation, compensation

Author

Evan James Devereaux
Evan James Devereaux

CA



About
I study History at California Polytechnic State University. I live in humble farming community. I live to write and I do so with the love and support of my friends and family. I published my first nov.. more..

Writing