Donate blood to the Red Cross to shoot an Amazon gift card, holiday

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Red Cross, facing a blood product supply shortage linked to a pandemic that has caused a pause in elective surgeries and other medical procedures, has joined the national organization to launch an aggressive blood donation campaign.

“Summer is always a tough time for us in terms of the blood supply, and it’s even more so this year as people start to travel again, schools open and people go on vacation,” said Guy Triano, CEO of the American Red Cross in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

“At the start of the pandemic, we were collecting blood every day and could meet the demand because all elective surgeries were postponed or canceled, and we were able to track and focus on recovery plasma to help people with COVID. . Now that we are out of the pandemic and elective surgeries are restarting, we are now six to 12 months behind schedule. “

The agency serves approximately 4.1 million people in Bucks, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Chester and Delaware counties.

Responding to local natural disasters also impacted its supply.

The Red Cross notes that hospitals are responding to an “unusually high number” of trauma and emergency room visits. Compared to 2019, the Red Cross saw the demand for red blood cells from hospitals with trauma centers increase by 10% in 2021, more than five times the growth of other establishments that provide transfusions.

There is a particular need for type O donors because it is the most sought after blood group by hospitals. Type O positive is the most transfused blood group and can be transfused to Rh positive patients of any blood group, while type O negative is the universal blood group and what emergency room staff are looking for. when there is no time to determine the blood group of patients in the most serious situations.

There is also an urgent need for platelets, the clotting part of the blood, which must be transfused within five days of donation. Almost half of all platelet donations go to patients on cancer treatment.

The American Red Cross has launched a summer blood drive as it faces a nationwide shortage of blood products due to growing demand.

Additionally, 20-40% of trauma deaths that occur after hospitalization involve massive bleeding, and under these circumstances, doctors may need hundreds of blood products, depending on the severity of the trauma, to help save a single life. .

“The Red Cross is currently experiencing a serious blood shortage,” said Chris Hrouda, president of Red Cross Biomedical Services. “Our teams are working tirelessly to meet the extraordinary blood needs of hospitals and patients (by) distributing approximately 75,000 more blood products than expected over the past three months to meet demand. Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood.

Some hospitals are taking a proactive approach to avoid any potential shortages of blood products.

Lower Bucks Hospital spokeswoman Michelle Aliprantis said the hospital network recently conducted a “very successful” blood drive that targeted 50 donors and resulted in 49 donations. Such efforts have helped protect Bristol Township Hospital from shortages of blood products, Aliprantis said.

The Red Cross has launched several month-long fundraising campaigns to help replenish blood products, which have a shelf life and are perishable. For example, whole blood has a shelf life of up to 35 days, red blood cells have a shelf life of 42 days, platelets have a shelf life of five days, and plasma can last up to a year. .

If donors donate blood, platelets or plasma until the end of the month, they will automatically be entered to win a trip for four to Cedar Point or Knott’s Berry Farm.

Each winner will receive travel that includes travel, two-night accommodation at a participating hotel, and two days of family-to-four admission tickets during the 2021 season.

The National Red Cross also operates an applicable program in which donors who donate blood through the end of July will receive a $ 10 gift card via email.

Bucks County has several ongoing blood collection sites, including the Middletown Township Building in Langhorne and the Neshaminy Mall in Bensalem.

Donors can visit the red cross website for other locations and times throughout the county.

“The need for blood is constant,” Triano said. “That’s why we do blood drives 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We can do a morning shift at a school and an afternoon shift at a community center. Safety is always there. a concern for us, and we encourage people to sign up and donate. “

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Linda Stewart

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