Winter is critical time of year for blood supply

blood supply
Blood supply

 

Special to The Dallas Examiner

 

“Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood,” said Terri Thibodeau, lab manager of Transfusion Services at Parkland Health and Hospital System, before emphasizing the importance of people donating blood to save the life of a person battling an illness or injury.

Most of us go through our daily lives without thinking that someone in our community is waiting for the gift of life. That’s because 1 in 7 people who enter a hospital require blood products.

“Right now there is a shortage of all blood types, but O positive and O negative are most needed. The winter season is a critical time of year for blood supply,” said Leslie L. Neilson, BSN, RN, and Transfusion Safety Officer at Parkland.

“So many people who would ordinarily donate are traveling during the holidays. Plus, we have inclement weather and winter illnesses that keep our donors at home. However, the need for blood does not decline.”

Parkland will host a blood drive on Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Private Dining Room at Parkland Memorial Hospital, 5200 Harry Hines Blvd. Those who plan on donating should bring their driver’s license and eat a meal prior to donating.

“We get so wrapped up in our everyday life that we don’t think about giving back, whether with money, volunteering our time or donating blood,” said Cassandra Mitchell, administrative support supervisor in the Pathology Department at Parkland.

At just 19 years old, Mitchell made the decision to help save a life by donating blood for the first time. She now makes it her goal to donate at least three times a year and encourages others to do the same.

“You watch the news and hear about tragic things happening and you just sit and think, ‘They probably had to have multiple surgeries.’ Then I remember, ‘Oh I did donate,’” Mitchell said. “So I know a part of me is able to help another person.”

In fiscal year 2019, Parkland used approximately 21,000 units of red blood cells, 6,200 units of cryoprecipitate, 2,500 units of plasma and 2,300 apheresis platelets, which is the equivalent of about 13,800 individual units of platelets, according to Thibodeau.

In FY 19, blood products were used in the following departments at Parkland:

  • Massive Transfusion Protocol, trauma or severe bleeds, 2,200 units, 10.5%
  • Apheresis, 3,000 units, 14%
  • Labor & Delivery, 2,285 units, 11%
  • Other areas such as oncology, dialysis, etc., 13,515 units or 64%

“We encourage everyone who is able to donate,” said Thibodeau. “You never know when you or a loved one will be the patient in need.”

For more information about donating, contact Neilson at leslie.neilson@phhs.org or 469-419-1628.

 

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