Need for blood continues, TMH sponsors another drive

Accidents in the summer increase, and many of them require blood transfusions. But the number of blood donors decrease.

The Memorial Hospital (TMH) in Craig will sponsor a blood drive Thursday to help meet the increased demand of blood for accident victims.

"Blood donation is one of the easiest ways to volunteer, with each donation having the potential to save, improve or extend up to three different lives," Jessica Maitland of Bonfils Blood Center said. "Blood donations are needed each and every day to support the ongoing patient needs throughout the entire state."

Each blood drive is a cooperative effort between TMH, the Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat and Bonfils Blood Center. It is done this way because "we help each other out if our supply runs low to make sure we take the best care of our community," said Linda Griffith, TMH lab department manager.

In 1999, TMH used 223 units of blood cells and 25 units of fresh frozen plasma and platelets. Normally, TMH blood donors give about 85 units of blood during each blood drive. One unit of blood is equivalent to one pint, the amount of blood a person will donate during a visit.

During the last drive in February, TMH collected 97 units of blood. The hospital also saw 12 new donors.

Bonfils Blood Center must collect 2,300 units of blood each week to meet Colorado's blood need. Each unit donated in Craig stays in Northwest Colorado.

"Only people can manufacture blood. There is no substitute. Since money cannot take its place, donations are very important," said TMH Community Relations Director Heather Houseworth.

The blood donation process itself is simple. The entire procedure will take less than an hour and the time it takes to actually draw the blood is less than 11 minutes. Donors also go through a questionnaire in regard to medical history and have their body iron levels checked.

Donated blood goes through 14 federally-mandated tests before being transfused to a needy patient.

According to Maitland, potential donors should eat a well-balanced meal four hours prior to donation and drink plenty of fluids, especially water, up to the time of donation. After donation, a good meal should also be consumed.

The blood drive will be held from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the School Administration Building, 775 Yampa Ave.

Giving blood is a completely confidential process. Those wanting to donate should schedule an appointment by calling TMH at (970) 824-9411. Walk-in donors are also welcome.

For more information on blood donation contact Bonfils Blood Center's 24 hour information line at 1-800-365-0006.

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