Twin Cities Businessmen Want to Sell Your Blood
A Minnesota duo is in the business of blood; blood donations that is. Minneapolis-based "General Blood" supplies hospitals across the United States. But as they reinvent how pints of blood are distributed they're changing the old model of saving lives.
Take a bow Minnesota, you donate more units of blood than the local community actually needs. But that's not the case in other parts of the country like on the East Coast.
So Twin Cities businessmen Ben Bowman and David Mitchell started up a blood distribution company.
"We're really providing certainty. That's a big value add to the hospitals. No matter what we'll be the ones behind the scenes making sure that if one blood center has a bad week, that doesn't affect the units you get," said Ben Bowman, CEO General Blood.
The blood that would normally spoil staying in Midwest hospitals is shipped via Fedex overnight to under-served regions.
Even though General Blood is a for-profit business. Their blood supply still comes from donation centers, like Memorial Blood Center. So without the help of willing donors, General Blood is out of business.
But they say they're not running their non-profit competitors out of business. In fact they welcome collaboration.
"Our belief is whether it's General Blood or not, hospitals should have two sources for blood product," said Bowman.
Memorial Blood Centers told us once Memorial Blood Centers meets the needs of their local hospital partners, they work with a nationwide network of community blood centers, and others, to deliver blood products to patients in need.
One of the reasons there's extra blood here in Minnesota is that more Minnesotan's donate. Memorial Blood Center tells us 7 percent of the population here donates blood. That's higher than the national average of 5-6 percent. But it's still much lower than the number of eligible donors. About 38 percent of the population is able to give blood.