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HomeNewsAmerican Red Cross urges blood and platelet donation during Trauma Awareness Month

American Red Cross urges blood and platelet donation during Trauma Awareness Month

Help save trauma patient lives by giving blood

American Red CrossNashville, TN – During Trauma Awareness Month in May, the American Red Cross urges eligible donors to help ensure lifesaving blood is available for patients with traumatic injuries and other serious medical needs by donating blood or platelets.

According to the National Trauma Institute, trauma accounts for approximately 41 million emergency department visits and 2.3 million hospital admissions in the U.S. annually.

The 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) hosted a blood drive in support of the local Red Cross at Fort Campbell, KY. (Staff Sgt. Barbara Ospina)
The 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) hosted a blood drive in support of the local Red Cross at Fort Campbell, KY. (Staff Sgt. Barbara Ospina)

“A single car accident victim can need as many as 100 units of blood,” said Mario Sedlock, director of donor recruitment, Red Cross Tennessee Valley Blood Services Region. “In trauma situations, when there’s no time to check a patient’s blood type, emergency personnel reach for type O negative red blood cells and type AB plasma.”

O negative red blood cells and AB plasma can be transfused into any patient, regardless of blood type, making donors with these universal blood types an important part of the Red Cross trauma team. Less than 7 percent of the population has type O negative blood, and only about 4 percent of the population has type AB blood.

Platelets may also be needed to help with clotting in cases of massive bleeding. Because platelets must be transfused within five days of donation, there is a constant – often critical – need to keep up with hospital demand.

“As a trauma surgeon, I know that a readily available blood supply can mean the difference between life and death for patients in the most serious situations,” said Dr. Gregory J. Jurkovich, board chair, National Trauma Institute; fellow, American College of Surgeons; and professor and vice chairman, Department of Surgery, University of California Davis Health. “Blood products can only be provided by generous donors, so I urge you to roll up a sleeve and help save lives.”

In 2014, donated blood helped save Ethan Moser’s life after his personal watercraft collided with the boat carrying his family. He suffered massive blood loss due to a severed femoral artery and other serious injuries. Moser received 160 transfusions of blood and blood products.

While his recovery continues, Moser remains grateful to the generous donors who provided the blood he received. “I’m here simply because there was enough blood available to replenish what I lost,” he said. “You never know when an accident’s going to happen, so please donate today to be sure blood is available for those who will need it.”                          

Blood and platelet donors of all types are currently needed. Donation appointments can be scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1.800.RED CROSS (1.800.733.2767).

Upcoming blood donation opportunities

Blanchfield Army Hospital, 650 Joel Drive Fort Campbell, KY 42223
May 23rd, 2017: 10:00am – 4:00pm.

American Red Cross, 1760 Madison St. Clarksville, TN 37043
May 22nd, 2017: 10:30am – 4:30pm.
May 29th, 2017: 8:00am – 12:00pm.

How to help

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1.800.RED CROSS (1.800.733.2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.

Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.

Volunteers needed

Another way to support the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross is to become a volunteer. Volunteers with flexible schedules are needed to support blood collection in the areas of: greeter and canteen specialists in most areas; and warehouse and transportation specialists in selected areas. Volunteer greeters assist with blood drive registration.

Volunteer canteen specialists assist with distributing snacks to blood donors. Warehouse volunteers assist with packaging blood drive supplies and transportation specialists transport blood and blood products. For more information and to apply for a greeter, canteen, warehouse or transportation volunteer specialist position, visit: http://www.redcross.org/volunteer

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.

For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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