This month has seen two blood drives on campus, but statistics offered by the American Red Cross and America’s Blood Centers suggest there are some misconceptions about the needs of hospitals.
One such misconception is that accident victims and disaster survivors use the most blood according to America’s Blood Centers. This causes blood centers to see the most support after major disasters.
As well-meaning as this support is, such disasters rarely require large amounts of blood and hospitals usually use the blood they already have in such instances.
America’s Blood Centers states most donated blood goes to people being treated for cancer or blood disorders, such as sickle cell disease, and people undergoing surgery. Because of this, blood is needed every day.
This isn’t to say large blood drives aren’t important. The Red Cross states 80 percent of the blood they receive is collected at blood drives. However, hospitals need individuals to donate throughout the year.
Blood cannot be manufactured and donated blood cannot be used after 42 days from when it was collected, according to the Red Cross, and platelets can be preserved for only five days.
Because of this, no matter how many donations Phi Gamma or HALO collected in their respective drives, none of that blood will be usable by the last week of May.
Blood donation is a safe and simple process. Donors are given physicals to ensure they are healthy and safe to donate. Needles are sterilized and only used once. All donated blood is tested for infectious diseases before being delivered to hospitals.
Donating blood takes about an hour and 15 minutes, with drawing blood usually taking less than 12 minutes, according to the Red Cross.
Learn more about blood donation at http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood. Find upcoming local blood drives at http://redcrossblood.org/give/drive/driveSearch.jsp.
There are still ways to help for those who are ineligible to donate or are afraid of needles. Blood drives rely on volunteers to contact donors and keep refreshments in supply, according to the Armed Services Blood Program.
ASBP also suggests helping those who are eligible find the time and means to donate by offering to watch their kids or give them a ride. One can even organize a blood drive by partnering with the Red Cross.
Unfortunately, less than 10 percent of the eligible population donates and the most common reason the American Red Cross hears is that people just don’t think about it.
With that in mind, the Review encourages the Washburn community to make time for donations year-round.