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The importance of donating blood

Published: Feb. 18, 2021 at 6:51 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -Blood donations of any blood type save lives and are vital.  As we’ve told you over the last three weeks, there is always a constant need for blood donations.  As Megan Cole finds, that’s why people are encouraged to donate on a regular basis.

“We need blood types…blood of all types.”

Mary Brant, the Communication Manager for the American Red Cross Northern New England Region, is talking about the constant need for life saving blood.  Denise Hannigan is the nurse manager of surgical services at Houlton Regional Hospital and says while routine surgery doesn’t necessarily require blood, a hemorrhage can happen.

“Depends on how much the patient is losing.  We can use an average of 1 to 4 units during a surgery here in Houlton. We always have blood on standby.  Our lab retains a certain amount of blood here in our hospital just in case because going to need blood when there becomes a problem with hemorrhaging during a surgery.”

Brant says that blood is also used for other reasons as well.

“There are people dealing with chronic blood disorders.  Individuals who are battling cancer that population uses as much as 25% of the blood supply many times while you’re going through cancer therapy you can require blood on almost a daily basis and of course trauma people in a car accident a single individual involved in a car accident  may require as much as 100 units of blood.”

Hannigan says donations are needed to avoid blood shortages.

“If there was a blood shortage we would have to do a triaging system and I’m sure our medical director would be involved in that and the pathologist we work with in determining who would be the highest priority to receive that blood.”

“There’s always a big demand for type O blood.  Type O positive is the most common blood type and always in demand by hospitals and type O negative is often referred to as the universal blood type which can be given safely to anyone.”

For more information on how to donate blood visit redcross.org.

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