Morphis makes maximum contribution

Story by U.S. Army Sgt. Ryan Twist
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Although many service members donate platelets at the hospital here at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, one Soldier has reached his maximum allowance.

Warrant Officer David C. Morphis, a native of Victorville, Calif., and a command food-service technician with the 304th Sustainment Brigade, donated platelets for the 24th time this year – the maximum number of donations allowed in 12 months.

Deployment time constraints prevent most service members from reaching 24 donations in a year, but Morphis said he has a history of consistent donation.

“I used to donate blood regularly when I was in the states,” said Morphis. “I enjoy doing it because I know that my blood goes many different ways. In fact, out here they only take platelets, because platelets last longer.”

Morphis said when he goes home, he will not be able to donate for a while.

“Platelets are a small cell in the blood,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Thomas A. Jordan, the officer in charge of the aphaeresis team, with the 301st Medical Squadron out of Carswell, Texas. “Without platelets, we’re not going to have a big survivability rate.”

Jordan, a native of Misquite, Texas, said no blood type is needed more than others, which is why platelets are not blood-type specific. However, the hospital does keep the donations labeled by blood type, he said.

Service members can come to the hospital and sign up to donate.

“We offer incentives,” said Jordan. “You can get a T-shirt.”

Morphis received a shirt, but that is not why he donated platelets.

“I’m not a doctor; I’m not a nurse,” said Morphis. “At least my platelets can do some good as far as helping people heal.”

Morphis said when he went to donate, he reclined in a comfortable chair for a hour and a half and watched a movie while waiting for the process to finish. The satisfaction he felt from the use of his donations encouraged him to donate the maximum number of times.

“I can’t tell you how many times I have come in and they said, ‘They used your platelets this week,’” said Morphis. “It felt like I did something very good.”

Jordan said individuals who come to the hospital to donate seem excited.

“I see people that can’t wait to do something to serve,” said Jordan. “It’s rare to donate a great deal due to the length of deployments.”

Morphis said he would donate more if he could.

“When I reached that point it was nice, because it felt like I accomplished something big that I’ll remember,” said Morphis. “If I could donate more, I would continue to donate until I left. But since there is a limit, it is nice to reach it.”