Category Archives: Medical

Donating blood in Korea part 3

Things foreign blood donors should know:

1) You have to be in Korea for at least 1 year to qualify for donation.

2) You need to speak/ read Korean OR have a Korean translator (who is NOT your fiend) to help you arrange and attend the appointment.

3) If you have been on a holiday abroad in the last year, you cannot donate blood. If you’ve spent more than 1 day in a malaria risk area, you have to wait 2 years. * This appears to be a flexible rule depending on your luck of the draw- they could reduce the exclusion time from 1 year to 1 month if you went to a “safe” country.

4) You will need your ARC (Alien Registration Card).

Still in the game? Good. Most people fall at hurdle #3. 

5) If you’re from the UK/ Europe there is a strong chance you will be turned away because of the risk of CJD (Mad Cow Disease).

Still in the game? High 5! Go, go now! Donate and feel proud!

Rhesus Negative Blood Types can join a Facebook group called ” Blood Connections: Giving and Receiving in Korea”. You can find an English Version of the Blood Donation Interview document on the site, and they post urgent donation requests, especially for platelets for cancer sufferers. 

Like many things in Korea, there is a flexible nature to some of these rules. The outcome of the screening process could be influenced by the person who is interviewing you, their comfort levels with foreigners and their general experience in the field.

I’m going to have to wait until I’m back in the UK before I donate. In the meantime, I hope I dodge any accident/ illness that would require me to have a blood transfusion in Korea 😛

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Donating blood in Korea part 2

I got a group of foreigners together who have passed the 1 year mark, which makes us eligible for blood donation in Korea. I also roped in a Korean friend to help us translate the forms.

Unfortunately, we were turned away. Apparently you can’t use a friend to help you with translation… which begs the question “how else would a foreigner know a Korean well enough to ask for the imposition of time that blood donation requires”??!

I am very frustrated with the system in Pohang. I know that rhesus negative is a very rare blood type and when (not if) I get run over while I’m cycling, I’d really like to know that there is blood available for my treatment. The way that the clinic in Pohang is currently operating is counter productive and puts foreigners at a huge disadvantage when it comes to medical care.

I plan to write to the mayor requesting that the system be made more accessible to foreigners.

UPDATE: My letter is in the system, being translated as we speak and hopefully we’ll see a big change on the horizon before the end of the year.