Skip to content

Blood donors needed; supplies critically low

Nationwide, blood donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in. On a local level, LIFELINE Blood Services is asking for their community members’ help in building up the blood supplies for their friends and neighbors.

As an extra incentive, throughout the remainder of the summer until Aug. 31, every donor who gives blood will be entered for a chance to win a 2019 red Ford Fiesta.

With the most recent Independence Day holiday, there were as many as 17,000 fewer blood donations that week, according to the American Red Cross.

LIFELINE public services coordinator Cherie Parker reports LIFELINE needs more than 2,000 units of blood each month to help meet the demands of patients they serve in 18 hospitals and medical facilities in 19 counties and eight Air Evac helicopters throughout West Tennessee.

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. Every 30 seconds, someone needs platelets. There is no medical way to manufacture human blood outside of the body.

LIFELINE Blood Services provides a mobile collection for blood donations all across West Tennessee. Their buses can be seen in the parking lots of grocery stores, banks, churches, city halls and on campuses. Blood drives are crucial for helping maintain adequate supplies of blood for patients. The summer season is traditionally a difficult time to collect enough blood to meet patient needs as high schools and college blood drives account for as much as 20 percent of donations during the school year.

Locally, donors can be a part of the process by giving blood July 30 at Dr. Nathan Porter Memorial Library in Greenfield from 2-6 p.m. Donors can also visit LIFELINE Blood Services at 183 Sterling Farms Drive in Jackson Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. to give blood.

History of LIFELINE

Blood Services

It was August 1947 when Jackson Medical Laboratory and Blood Bank first opened its doors on the second floor of 607 Highland Ave. in Jackson. Business partners Jack and Martha Smythe and Ruby Warner gleamed with pride, with their two other employees as they began their new adventure. Dr. Kelly Smythe, long time family physician in Bemis, was on hand to support his son, Jack, and oversee the operation.

This opening was synonymous with the founding meeting of the American Association of Blood Banks in Dallas, Texas. Jack Smythe was at the meeting in Dallas and became a founding member.

A sterile, glass, vacuum bottle had recently been approved by the Food and Drug Administration with an anticoagulant/preservative for the purpose of collecting whole blood, human.

The closed system and improved anticoagulant made it possible for the first time to store blood for transfusion in a refrigerator for 21 days.

The four small hospitals then located in Jackson were the Blood Bank’s first customers, followed by Haywood County Hospital, Milan Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital and Gibson County Hospital.

Blood History

In 1898, it was discovered that inherited differences in people’s red cells were the cause of many of the incompatibilities seen with transfusions. Four blood types were identified. During World War I, when human blood was needed for transfusions for wounded soldiers, studies of how to preserve and transport blood began.

Not until World War II, however, did the development of effective preservative solutions make blood transfusions widely and safely available. There have been many advances since then, including the discovery of additional types of blood such as the Rh-positive and Rh-negative classifications.

Thanks to these advances, full utilization is made of nearly every blood donation. Elements of blood can be separated by centrifuge. Plasma can be preserved through freezing. Each blood element can be used to treat different diseases.

Blood is now tested for diseases it may carry, and any blood testing positive for a disease is destroyed.

Millions of times each year in the United States, human blood is required to save the lives of people suffering from accidents and disease.

All Donors Needed

All blood types are needed to help ensure a sufficient blood supply is available for patients — especially type O negative and positive donors.

Type O negative is the universal blood type and what emergency room personnel reach for when there is no time to determine the blood type of patients in the most serious situations. Type O positive is the most common blood type and can be transfused to Rh-positive patients of any blood type.

“Blood transfusions are one of the most common hospital procedures and blood donors play a critical role in ensuring there are enough products on the shelves to help patients in need,” said Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer, American Red Cross.

“Each day, kids battling cancer, accident victims being raced to the emergency room and mothers experiencing complicated childbirths rely on lifesaving blood. We need the public’s help today to ensure we have enough blood to meet these dire needs.”

Blood Donor Guidelines

Donors must weigh at least 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old to donate.

It is important to eat before giving blood. Do not give blood on an empty stomach.

A person’s body replaces the blood volume donated within 48 hours. However, it takes up to eight weeks to replace red cells. Thus the reason a person can only donate blood every eight weeks.

Giving blood is safe and simple. There is no risk of contracting AIDS or any other disease by giving blood. Sterile needles and blood bags are used once and then discarded.

The average male adult has about 12 pints of blood and an average female adult has 9 pints.

Blood Donation Process

A donor card is filled out for the individual. The donor will be asked questions to make sure that he/she is healthy enough to donate.

Next, a mini-physical is administered. The technician checks blood pressure, pulse rate, temperature, and the iron content of the donor’s blood. If these are within normal limits, a person is ready to give blood.

While donating blood, a person will recline in a comfortable chair and blood will be drawn through a needle in the bend of his/her arm. The donation itself takes approximately 4 to 10 minutes.

After donating, the donor will sit and rest for 5 to 10 minutes to enjoy refreshments. The entire blood donation process takes approximately 45 minutes.

Be sure to eat nourishing meals and drink plenty of liquids for 24 hours after donating blood.

Hospitals and Medical Facilities Served by LIFELINE

• Baptist Memorial Hospital in Huntingdon

• Lauderdale Community Hospital

• Baptist Memorial Hospital in Union City

• Bolivar General Hospital in Bolivar

• Milan General Hospital in Milan

• Camden General Hospital in Camden

• Spire Cane Creek Rehabilitation Hospital in Martin

• Decatur County General Hospital in Parsons

• Spire Rehabilitation Hospital in Jackson

• Hardin Medical Center in Savannah

• West Tennessee Healthcare Dyersburg Hospital

• Henderson County Community Hospital in Lexington

• West Tennessee Healthcare North Hospital in Jackson

• Henry County Medical Center in Paris

• West Tennessee Healthcare Volunteer Hospital in Martin

• Humboldt Outpatient Services in Humboldt

• Three Rivers Hospital in Waverly and

• Jackson Madison County General Hospital in Jackson.

Leave a Comment