[This piece was written by Angela Miczek, MBA, MT (ASCP), director of Laboratory Services, St. Peter’s Health Partners.]
With the Fourth of July holiday behind us, summer feels like it is truly underway! But while summer brings to mind thoughts of vacations, travel, and time off from work and school, the one thing a lot of people aren’t thinking about are blood donations.
The American Red Cross has noted for years that blood bank supplies always run a little lower in the summer, and it is precisely because people are away on vacation or traveling. People are not on their normal routines and those regular donations are sorely missed.
In addition, the fact that schools are not in session – when so many collections occur during the school year at high schools and colleges – has a tremendous impact on available blood supplies.
A single donation is a wonderful gift greatly appreciated by the community and the recipients whose lives you save. But multiple donations go even further, as each donation can help up to three patients.
At St. Peter’s Health Partners, approximately 35 units of red blood cells are transfused each day – that’s an average of 12,600 red cell units per year. And all blood is important to hospitals, no matter what your type may be.
If you are a Type O donor, you play an even more significant role in helping hospitals to continue business as usual. Type O blood is universal – any person, no matter what their blood type, can receive it. This is not the case with other blood types.
There is a deficit of available Type O blood needed in hospitals for trauma victims, premature babies and patients with cancer and blood disorders, among others. Without enough blood, transfusions have to be delayed, procedures have to be cancelled, and patients’ health may be jeopardized.
According to the American Red Cross, if every eligible Type O donor gave blood at least twice a year, there would be no blood shortages! Please consider donating blood, especially if you are Type O – there is no other source.
This year, please consider adding a donation date to your summer “to-do” list. You will have a profound impact in your community – YOU WILL save lives!
Call the American Red Cross at 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543) or visit www.DonateBloodNow.org to schedule a blood donation appointment; or visit www.redcross.org for more information about giving the gift of life.