The importance of blood donors in our community

The gift of blood donation is a selfless act that gives hope to those in need. Julia Crosby, MT (ASCP) BB, blood bank specialist, Parkview Regional Medical Center, tells us more about the demand for donors and the impact your blood has.

The need for blood products is always great. The American Red Cross estimates that 36,000 units of red blood cells are required to meet the need in hospitals and emergency rooms every day in the U.S. This is to meet the demand for patients with cancer and other diseases, surgical support and accident/trauma victims. The summer months and winter holiday season put additional stress on blood suppliers because of decreased donations. Also, in the past year, the shortage has widened as we’ve seen an increase in the number of donors who are deferred from donating due to recent travel to areas that have Zika virus epidemics and the increase in need for the aging baby boomers. As a result, the American Red Cross and America’s Blood Centers have had to issue multiple critical appeals for blood and platelet donations in 2016.

Parkview Health considers our blood supply to be a valuable community resource, and we want to be good stewards of the blood supply. We recently embarked on a system-wide Patient Blood Management initiative, which focuses on provision of evidence-based transfusion practices and elimination of unnecessary transfusions.    We practice inventory management to limit waste and have strict control of optimum storage conditions for each product. We have policies that promote transfusion safety at each step from the receipt of each product through the transfusion to the patient. The ultimate goal is to have processes in place to provide the right blood to the right patient at the right time for the right reason.

Eventually you or someone you know – a friend, neighbor or family member – will need blood. Without purposeful, dedicated donors the blood they need may not be there. There is no substitute for human blood products. Volunteer donation fosters a feeling of doing something generous for others; it’s the ultimate “pay it forward.” Your community is depending upon you!

So what’s stopping you?
One of the most common reasons people shy away from blood donation is a fear of needles. Curtis Smith, Director of Community Outreach, let us tag along as he faced his own phobia and went through the blood donation process at a recent blood drive event.

Visit redcross.org for more information and to find a blood drive in your area. 

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