During Trauma Awareness Month in May, the American Red Cross urges eligible donors to help ensure lifesaving blood is available for patients with traumatic injuries and other serious medical needs by donating blood or platelets.
According to the National Trauma Institute, trauma accounts for approximately 41 million emergency department visits and 2.3 million hospital admissions in the U.S. annually.
“A single car accident victim can need as many as 100 units of blood,” said Mario Sedlock, director of donor recruitment, Red Cross Tennessee Valley Blood Services Region. “In trauma situations, when there’s no time to check a patient’s blood type, emergency personnel reach for type O negative red blood cells and type AB plasma.”
O negative red blood cells and AB plasma can be transfused into any patient, regardless of blood type, making donors with these universal blood types an important part of the Red Cross trauma team. Less than 7 percent of the population has type O negative blood, and only about 4 percent of the population has type AB blood.
Platelets may also be needed to help with clotting in cases of massive bleeding. Because platelets must be transfused within five days of donation, there is a constant – often critical – need to keep up with hospital demand.
“As a trauma surgeon, I know that a readily available blood supply can mean the difference between life and death for patients in the most serious situations,” said Dr. Gregory J. Jurkovich, board chair, National Trauma Institute; fellow, American College of Surgeons; and professor and vice chairman, Department of Surgery, University of California Davis Health. “Blood products can only be provided by generous donors, so I urge you to roll up a sleeve and help save lives.”
In 2014, donated blood helped save Ethan Moser’s life after his personal watercraft collided with the boat carrying his family. He suffered massive blood loss due to a severed femoral artery and other serious injuries. Moser received 160 transfusions of blood and blood products.
While his recovery continues, Moser remains grateful to the generous donors who provided the blood he received. “I’m here simply because there was enough blood available to replenish what I lost,” he said. “You never know when an accident’s going to happen, so please donate today to be sure blood is available for those who will need it.”
Blood and platelet donors of all types are currently needed. Donation appointments can be scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Upcoming blood donation opportunities:
Salem: 5/17/2017: 12:30 – 4:30 p.m.-Livingston Hospital Health Care Services, 131 Hospital Drive Salem, KY 42078
Calvert City: 5/19/2017: 3 – 7 p.m.-Altona Baptist Church, 5817 US HWY 62 Calvert City, KY 42029
Grand Rivers: 6/1/2017: 1 – 5 p.m.- Lake City Baptist Church, 410 Hazel Demery Road Grand Rivers, KY 42045.
Princeton: 6/1/2017: noon – 6 p.m.-Calvary Baptist Church, 121 Kentucky Ave. Princeton, KY 42445
Murray: 6/15/2017: 12:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.-First Presbyterian Church, 1601 Main St. Murray, KY 42071
How to help
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.