Hospitals across the U.S. are facing critical blood supply shortages. Many blood drives, too, have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Feb. 23, though, Columbia VA hosted its first blood drive of 2022 in partnership with the American Red Cross.
Blood drives like this play an important role in keeping hospitals equipped with the amount of blood they need.
“As far as we’ve come in modern medicine, we still have no real substitute for blood,” said Dr. B. James McCallum, Education Service associate chief of staff. “When there are shortages, we have nowhere else to go. When you donate blood, you are quite literally saving someone’s life.”
Employees of Columbia VA at the American Red Cross blood drive
With the emergency need for blood across the U.S and in South Carolina, employees at the Dorn VA Medical Center were asked to roll up their sleeves and do their part to help with this crisis.
“Important to give what I can.”
“With the blood supply shortage going on right now, I think it is really important to come out and give what I can,” said nurse Kimberley Bond, mobile unit cardiology case manager and recent recipient of the American Red Cross Gallon Pin. “If people don’t step up and donate as often as they can, then someone, somewhere, may not be able to get any blood if they need it.”
Seventy Dorn VA employees donated at the blood drive, resulting in 60 units of blood that will be distributed to hospitals across the nation, with each pint having the capability of saving up to three lives.
Worst blood shortage in over a decade
“American Red Cross is facing a national blood crisis, its worst blood shortage in over a decade, posing a risk to patient care,” said Sally Fox, American Red Cross. “Doctors have been forced to make difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait until more products become available. Blood donations are critically needed to help prevent further delays in vital medical treatments. The blood drive today is essential in helping replenish the blood supply.”
Despite the hardships the COVID-19 pandemic have caused for blood drives across the country, this marks the 14th blood drive hosted by Columbia VA since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
To be eligible to donate blood, a person must be at least 17 (16 with parental consent), be in good health, weigh at least 110 pounds (120 pounds if 16 years old) and present valid photo identification with signature.
Find a blood drive near you.