Blood center announces urgent need for donors

By on February 6, 2009

Due to the extreme weather the area has experienced in recent weeks, Heartland Blood Centers is struggling to meet the needs of O-negative and B-negative patients in area hospitals.

Cold weather, ice and snow caused numerous blood drives and donor appointments to be canceled in both December and January. This, coupled with layoffs at companies holding blood drives, has adversely affected blood donor participation. Inventories of O-negative and B-negative blood types have dropped to less than a two-day supply, leaving surgery and treatment for patients of these types in jeopardy.

Complicating matters is the fact that January is typically a month of increased demand for blood due to elective surgeries that are scheduled after the holiday season. This is why January is proclaimed National Blood Donor Month by our nation’s president each year as a way to encourage all healthy Americans to donate blood for others less fortunate.

“We are appealing to all O-negative and B-negative blood donors to visit one of our centers or community blood drives immediately so that others may get the treatment they need,” said Ann McKanna, Heartland’s vice president of marketing and new business development. “If you have never given blood, or have not done so in the past few months, please consider giving blood now for those in your community who need your help.”

Patients in Heartland’s 32 member hospitals rely solely on volunteer blood donors for life-saving transfusions. Every day, nearly 600 pints of blood are transfused to patients in the 12 counties supplied by Heartland Blood Centers.

“When inventories drop to below what would normally be transfused in a three-day period, hospitals are often asked to transfer their inventories to other hospitals with patients in urgent need of that type,” said Doug Winsor, director of hospital services. “Typical daily usage coupled with unforeseen traumas can compromise patient care.”

Donors can schedule a time to give by calling 1-800-7 TO GIVE. Donors can also visit www.heartlandbc.org for listings of blood drives in the community and listings of our 16 center locations.

To be a blood donor, an individual must be at least 17 years old, (16 with written parental permission); weigh at least 110 pounds; be symptom-free of cold, flu and allergies; and be in general good health. Donors who have traveled outside the United States within the past 12 months should contact Heartland at 1-800-7TO-GIVE to determine eligibility.