Red Cross issues emergency call for blood donations

HANCOCK COUNTY — To medical professionals, the summer months are coined as trauma season.

When the weather warms up, emergency rooms tend to see a higher number of concussions, car crash victims and sports-related injuries, said Rodney Wilson, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross.

But during the summer months, when families vacation and schools are out of session, the number of blood donations drops, leaving the Red Cross and other state agencies without enough blood to help patients in need, Wilson said.

The Red Cross has issued an emergency call for blood donations, urging all eligible donors to contribute to the cause.

Angie Redd, a technical coordinator for laboratory services at Hancock Regional Hospital, said the hospital feels the effects the decreased donations.

Though there’s been no delay in the surgeries or treatments as a result of the shortage, the hospital, too, sees fewer donations in the summer, she said.

Donors give one pint of blood each time they contribute, Wilson said.

During the first hour of treatment, a trauma patient in serious condition can require anywhere from 20 to 100 pints of blood, Wilson said.

“A trauma case can drain a hospital’s blood supply very quickly,” he said.

Andrea Fagan, director of public relations and marketing at the Indiana Blood Center, a nonprofit committed to providing a steady supply of blood to hospitals, said the organization is grappling with the same issue.

Each month, the organization sets a target for the number of donations it will distribute to area hospitals.

In June, the organization missed its target of 12,000 units by about 300, she said. Though some might interpret that as a minor slip, it’s alarming to the organization.

One pint of blood can be split among three people, so a drop of 300 donations potentially affects 900 patients as a result, she said.

This year, the Zika virus, which is spread by mosquitoes and causes serious birth defects, is contributing the shortage, Fagan said.

Residents who have traveled to many Central and South American countries where Zika has been detected, including Mexico, Brazil and Jamaica, within the last month are ineligible to donate blood.

That’s cutting into the supply of otherwise eligible donors, Fagan said.

County residents have several opportunities to donate blood at upcoming local drives.

Mt. Vernon High School will host a mobile blood drive Wednesday from 2 to 7 p.m. Residents interested in donating can schedule an appointment on the Indiana Blood Center website, and walk-ins are also available.

To see a list of upcoming mobile drives in your area, visit donorpoint.org.

Upcoming drives

Mt. Vernon High School, 8112 N. County Road 200W, Fortvile, will host a mobile blood drive Wednesday from 2 to 7 p.m.

Another drive will be held from 1:30 to 4 p.m. July 26 at American Family Insurance, 48 W. Main St., Suite B, New Palestine.

Residents interested in donating can schedule an appointment on the Indiana Blood Center website, and walk-ins are also available.

If you go

To see a list of upcoming mobile drives in your area, visit donorpoint.org.

Author photo
Daniel Morgan is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at (317) 477-3228 or dmorgan@greenfieldreporter.com.