Woman Turned Away From Blood Center Because She Won’t Remove Hijab

(Memphis) Memphis mother Keajuana Allen said she gives blood regularly at Tennessee Blood Services at 807 Poplar, but she was turned away Wednesday.

“She told me I had to remove my scarf and I told her, ‘Well you know I can’t.’ I said, ‘Why today, do I have to remove my scarf?’ I said, ‘Due to religious purposes, I am not to be uncovered,’” said Allen after she was asked to remove her hijab before giving blood Wednesday.

“Due to my religion being a Muslim woman, I am not to uncover in front of especially a man, only if it’s my husband. She told me that I needed to find another donor center to go to.”

Tennessee Blood Services medical director Edward Scott said they require everyone who gives blood to uncover their head or take off a hat.

“To evaluate the scalp we need individuals to take off the hat or take off head coverings,” said Scott.

“It’s to make sure the collection is safe for the donor but also that the product is going to be usable,” added Scott.

Scott said Allen was turned away because of her low hemoglobin or iron.

Allen said no blood sample was taken Wednesday to know that.

WREG called other blood donation centers and none of them require you to uncover your head before giving blood.

Tennessee Blood Services, which pays blood donors, said it’s always been a requirement in order to check for scars or stitches.

25 comments

  • Thomas H. Evans

    WHAT; I have never had anyone check my head before giving blood. Is this some made up rule for TN.?

  • Skeptic

    The whole story has not been told. I donate every 8 weeks and never in 20 years of donating have I had my head checked. I wear a cap all the time. To test the hemoglobin they stick your finger. I donate to Lifeblood. The places they pay you may have different rules and regulations.

  • Hard Truths

    Giving blood at a place that pays you will disqualify you at Lifeblood.

    Getting paid for blood has a very high correlation with blood diseases.

    • jim

      do you have a source for your little tidbit of knowledge. from the story it’s unclear whether she is an unpaid blood donor or a paid plasma donor. i work in the plasma industry

  • #ijs

    The full story couldn’t have been told. She stated that she has been donating there for a while. If she has donated there before and it has never been an issue then why all of a sudden is it a problem today. She’s making it seem like she’s been going dressed this way in the past and it hasn’t been a problem. When it actuality TODAY was her FIRST time going dressed that way. From her past donations, she knows the rules and how they operate. Why wouldn’t the workers question it?

    • Kyle

      It seems as if you work there and are speaking on behalf of the company as well. SO, was it “in actuality” her first time or not? If you weren’t there or haven’t worked there for a while then how do you know?

  • Hard Truths

    Anyone who gets paid for donating blood is a blood SELLER, not a blood donor. There is a big difference at a lot of different levels.

    • Tamara Thomas

      Ppl r so opinionated…does it make a difference if she’s selling it or whatever..The fact of the matter is this…They denied her..Now if a nun comes to sell her blood,would u same ppl and ur sarcism have something negative to say???Probably not,you’ll be in. Tenn.protesting…smh

      • Hard Truths

        Yes, BIG difference between selling blood and donating blood.

        If you don’t understand, that’s your ignorance talking.

      • Thomas H. Evans

        Is there really a difference in selling blood and donating blood in the eyes of those in need of this blood. I still don’t see the need to see her head, but that’s my opinion.

    • Abhi Buch

      Don: You surmise that she is “probably on Welfare, and needs the money!” How do you know this is so? Just flat out bigotry, tight? may be she is the CEO of a company that emoloys 145 people….you see!

  • Dania G

    I think that offering her a private room is a way of accommodating her. There has to be a middle ground. I think that was it. It’s not a big deal if she truly was offered a private room. No need to feel violated if and when accommodated.

  • It's Friday!

    The person who made the comment about if a nun were to come in would they be asked to remove their headcovering, whether giving blood or having their driver’s license photo taken. I’d be curious to see if the rules claimed are consistantly enforced.

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