Increased demand for blood this summer

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 7:58 AM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - As hospitals resume elective surgeries, the Red Cross is in need of blood.

During the pandemic, surgeries and other procedures were put on pause. Now that people are scheduling those delayed surgeries, Tom Hinman of the American Red Cross says there is a significant need for blood, especially for those in need of cancer treatments.

“Their procedures were delayed to protect their safety. Obviously, nobody wanted them to contract COVID. Now hospitals are open for those elective procedures and also cancer procedures,” Hinman said. “So, we have a tremendous amount of patients who are getting caught up on their treatments.”

Dr. Regen Gallagher, Chief Medical Officer at Cary Medical Center, says cancer treatments require blood products year-round.

“Some of the treatments that people receive suppress the blood making system in the body and so their blood counts go down quite low,” Dr. Gallagher said. “So, it is not uncommon for our oncology patients to need various blood products. Sometimes its packed red blood cells, sometimes its platelets… but those are common products needed by those folks and that is a year-round need.”

Gallagher says during the summer, having a strong blood supply is vital.

“Summer is also, unfortunately, trauma season. People are out and about doing all kinds of fun things and they occasionally get injured. In those cases, sometimes we do need blood and occasionally lots of blood. When there are shortages sometimes, they’re not able to keep us supplied in the same way that they always did and that always puts us at risk for not having what somebody needs when an emergency happens.”

Blood drives will be held in the county next week.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021Presque IsleSargent Family Community Center
Wednesday, June 16, 2021Fort KentFort Kent Knights of Columbus Hall
Thursday, June 17, 2021CaribouCaribou Inn & Conference Center
Friday, June 18, 2021HoultonShiretown Inn & Suites

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