Blood shortage and risk of death ‘is real’ if blood donations go down | Local News

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BENNINGTON — You can help prevent a blood shortage in Bennington by being a regular blood donor.

The American Red Cross is holding a blood drive Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at First Baptist Church at 601 Main St. In the lead up to the blood drive, Southwestern Vermont Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Trey Dobson said took some time with the banner this week to explain the importance of donating blood.

“In our community, every day, there are people who need a blood transfusion to survive,” Dobson said. “These are not necessarily people who have experienced a traumatic situation. These are people with diseases such as cancer and autoimmune diseases, who need regular blood transfusions just to maintain their [lives].”

Some community members need scheduled visits to receive blood because their red blood cells are decreasing over time. Other patients might need blood due to surgical trauma or internal bleeding. Elective surgeries must also have plenty of blood accessible during these procedures.

When there is a drop in donations, a shortage of blood can occur. This forces the hospital to space out transfusions longer “resulting in lost work, less family time and more illnesses. And then, of course, the risk of death, which is real,” Dobson said.

Over the past two years, there have been cases of severe blood shortages, where there was little or no blood available for critical situations.

People with O-negative blood are universal donors, and “that’s the real need right now,” Dobson said. At the same time, it is important to remember that community members do not need to have O-negative blood to donate. All blood types are useful, but O-negative is special because it can be given in an emergency when the patient’s blood type is unknown.

“If you’re O negative, it’s a great service to donate as often as the Red Cross provides,” Dobson said. According to the American Red Cross, people can donate blood every eight weeks or 56 days. Power Red donations allow a person to donate approximately double the amount of a traditional donation, but these donations can only be made every 16 weeks or 112 days.

Donating blood is a personal choice, but Dobson said, “The risk of donating blood is zero.”

Prior to donation, the potential donor will be screened for any conditions that would prevent someone from donating blood.

Given the travel time, donating blood can take a few hours at most. Anyone who is not eligible to donate blood can help by encouraging others to donate.

At the Dec. 1 blood drive, donors will receive a $10 Amazon gift card via email. Appointments can be made at redcrossblood.orgby calling 800-RED-CROSS or texting “bloodapp” to 90999 to download the smartphone app.

Blood shortage and risk of death ‘is real’ if blood donations go down | Local News

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