[This piece was written by Angela Miczek, MBA, MT (ASCP), director of Laboratory Services, St. Peter’s Health Partners.]
All blood is important to hospitals. Your blood is desperately needed, 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. That business is saving lives.
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.
According to the American Red Cross, there is currently is a deficit of available Type O blood in our area. Type O blood plays a critical role 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.
If every eligible Type O donor gave blood at least twice a year, there would be no blood shortages. That bears repeating: If every eligible Type O donor gave blood at least twice a year, there would be no blood shortages!
Many donors give blood at annual drives. A single donation is a wonderful gift greatly appreciated by the community and the recipients whose lives you save. And 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. In addition, 1,713 platelets and 2,100 units of plasma are transfused annually at SPHP.
Fortunately, our community is extremely generous, but statistics show that only five percent of those eligible actually donate; there is a huge untapped donor population.
Please consider donating blood, especially if you are Type O – there is no other source. And as we enter the winter months, think about an additional donation. Supplies generally run lower in the winter as donors may be reluctant to drive to donation events during inclement weather, and the cold and flu season leaves many unable to donate.
You can have a profound effect on hospitals’ blood supplies and 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.