The Platelets Not Just A Bunch Of Dirty Dishes

The second type of formed element within the buffy coat is the platelet or thrombocyte. The platelet name comes from their shape - ''little plate''-like fragments of disintegrated bone marrow cells. The thrombocyte name derives from their function - ''clotting'' (thromb) ''cells.'' About 1/3 the size of an RBC (red blood cell), the platelets (thrombocytes) are scattered here and there in small groups, throughout the plasma. These purplish-colored, plate-like cell fragments have very sticky surfaces. Thus, whenever a vessel ruptures and hemorrhages (HEM-eh-rij-es) or ''bursts forth'' blood, the platelets soon collect around the open hole and help create a thrombus (clot). This physiological behavior in forming clots explains the platelets' alternate name of thrombocytes.

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