EDITORIAL: Summer months are a critical time for you to donate blood
Chris Lusk, The Oklahoma Daily
AT A GLANCE
Requirements for donating
• Be healthy (feel well and able to perform normal activities)
• At least 17 years old (16 with parental consent)
• Weigh at least 110 pounds
For a full list of requirements, click here.
AT A GLANCE
Where to donate
» Oklahoma Blood Institute
1004 24th Ave. NW, Suite 101
10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays; 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays; 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Fridays; 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays
Call 405-419-1599 to make a donation appointment
» American Red Cross Blood Services
1205 Halley Ave.
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays
Blood donations accepted from 2 to 7 p.m. every other Monday beginning Aug. 13.
Call 1-800-RED CROSS to make a donation appointment
Our View: Donate blood to save lives this summer.
While the lives of many slow down during the summer, hospitals nationwide are working as hard as ever — some work even harder as motorcycle, motor vehicle and boating accidents tend to spike in the summer during holidays, such as Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.
Shortages of all blood types occur during the summer holidays, when schools aren’t in session to hold blood drives and when people aren’t in town to donate. Now, more than ever, it is important to donate blood to replenish blood banks that are in need, ensure patients who require surgery can go through with the procedure and educate the community about the misconceptions of donating so depleted blood banks aren’t a summer tradition.
High school students account for about 18 percent of donors in Oklahoma, an American Red Cross spokesperson said to The Tulsa World. The college community is another important population. The Bedlam Blood Battle brought in a combined 2,143 donations last May that will help more than 5,200 patients. Since May, though, blood drives and donors have been scarce and the short supply at blood banks is severe.
The aftermath of last summer’s shortage forced many large hospitals in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Atlanta to cancel elective surgeries last September. Increased numbers of complex therapies, such as chemotherapy, organ transplants and heart surgeries, followed a summer season with traditionally high trauma occurrences and created an increased demand.
Though surgeries and treatments in Oklahoma hospitals haven’t been canceled due to an insufficient blood supply since the Oklahoma Blood Institute was established in 1977, the possibility is always present. Also, there can never be an over-supply of blood at a blood bank. “Extra” quantities are used for testing or shipped to someone in need. You never fail to help a patient when you donate blood.
Though the need for more blood is imminent, only 5 percent of the 60 percent of the U.S. population that is eligible to donate blood actually donates. In the U.S., a blood transfusion is needed every two seconds and one out of every three people will need donated blood in their lifetime. Count your family members and friends off in threes — these individuals are potential patients in need.
While the future science of synthetic blood may hold answers for many, blood donors are lifesavers for patients now.
According to the American Red Cross, one of the most common reasons cited by people who don’t give blood is, “I never thought about it.” Donating blood is fast and easy, and the actual blood donation typically takes less than 10 to 12 minutes.
Donating blood is a safe process. The donor’s temperature, blood, pressure, pulse and hemoglobin is checked each visit to ensure it is safe for the donor to give blood. While the average adult’s body contains 10 pints of blood, only about one pint is taken during a donation. A sterile needle is used during each procedure, and all donated blood is tested for HIV, hepatitis, syphilis and other infectious diseases.
If a person begins donating blood at age 17 and did so every 56 days until age 76, that person would have donated 48 gallons of blood, potentially helping save more than 1,000 lives. It is never too late to begin donating blood. Empower your friends and family to donate and save a life during a season that is lacking blood donors.