REGISTER VIEWPOINT: The gift of life

There it was in the paper again: The Red Cross is declaring an urgent need for blood. Maybe you saw it and said, yeah
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

There it was in the paper again: The Red Cross is declaring an urgent need for blood.

Maybe you saw it and said, yeah, the Red Cross is always saying that.

After 9-11. After Katrina. After the Midwest floods.

The thing is, when you need blood, it’s urgent. It’s never something you can decide to go get tomorrow, not when someone’s in the emergency room or on the operating table right NOW.

This time around, the Red Cross says, it’s because summer vacation is well under way and people don’t think about giving blood — but people being more active means more accidents, and more instances of people needing blood.

And blood drive promoters and technicians are pushing, hard, for so-called “Universal Donors” with type O blood, whose blood can be given to almost anyone. Such donors are encouraged heartily — pardon the pun — to consider “double red” donations, in which a process called apheresis is used to separate red blood cells from a donated unit of blood, with everything else — blood plasma, white cells, plus some saline solution to make up the lost volume — returned to the donor’s system. Such donors are able to donate twice as many red cells in one trip, but have to wait twice as long before donating again. The Red Cross says, though, red cells are usually what people need when they need blood.

But even a unit of whole blood — the pint bag in which your blood donation is collected — helps.

The Red Cross says about 60 percent of the people in the United States are eligible to give blood, but only a few percent do. “Eligible” means 17 years old or older, weighing at least 110  pounds and in good health — and if it’s been 56 days — eight weeks — since your last donation.

For Red Cross blood drives in Erie and Huron counties, click HERE

For Red Cross blood drives in Ottawa and Sandusky counties, click HERE