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Red Cross urges blood, platelet donation

Staff Reports • Updated May 17, 2018 at 9:00 AM

The American Red Cross calls for donors to give blood and platelets regularly in May to be prepared to meet the needs of patients in emergency situations.

According to the National Trauma Institute, trauma accounts for about 41 million emergency department visits and 2 million hospital admissions each year.

In March 2015, Kevin Frame suffered life-threatening injuries in a head-on collision during spring break. He received blood products to treat internal injuries immediately after the accident and during multiple surgeries while recovering.

“Without the blood and plasma products made available from donations, I would not be alive today to continue my rehabilitation journey,” said Frame, who had to relearn to swallow, speak and walk after the accident. 

Regular blood, platelet and plasma donations help ensure that blood is available at a moment’s notice. In fact, it is the blood on the shelves that is used to help save lives at the time of an accident or sudden illness. 

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 because they can be transfused to any patient, regardless of blood type. 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.

Donors of all blood types are urged to roll up a sleeve in May to help meet the needs of trauma patients and others with serious medical conditions. To make an appointment to donate blood, download the free Red Cross blood donor app, visit redcrossblood.org or call 800-RED CROSS. 

All those who come to donate through May 13 will be entered to win one of three $1,000 gift cards to a national home improvement retailer, courtesy of Suburban Propane. 

Upcoming blood donation opportunities in Wilson County include:

• May 21 from noon until 4 p.m. at the Wilson County Veterans Building at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center at 945 E. Baddour Pkwy. in Lebanon. 

• May 24 from 12:30-6 p.m. at Immanuel Baptist Church at 214 Castle Heights Ave. in Lebanon. 

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years old who 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 old and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can 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, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at redcrossblood.org/rapidpass or use the blood donor app.

Another way to support the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross is to become a volunteer transportation specialist and deliver lifesaving blood products to local area hospitals. Volunteer transportation specialists play an important role to ensure an ample blood supply for patients in need by transporting blood and blood products. For more information and to apply for a volunteer transportation specialist position, contact Renee Jenkins at 615-854-5950 or visit rdcrss.org/driver.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, visit redcross.org.

 

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