Even though Sampson Regional Medical Center’s emergency blood drive last week was successful, the need for blood is still critical, officials said, and the plea to help is still being made.
A total of 105 units were collected during last week’s drive at the medical center. However, according to Amber Cava, SRMC director of marketing and community relations, and RN Debbie Finney, blood bank director, they are still despearte for donors.
“Donations are still down with the onset of summer, and the need is critical,” asserted Cava. “We are in constant need of donations to replace the blood being used.”
While the need is critical Cava said so far, and fortunately, no elective surgeries have had to be delayed or rescheduled due to the ongoing shortage.
“We have been able to provide for all of our patients in need of blood, but we need constant donations to replace the units that are being used,” Cava reiterated.
Finney explained that the hospital has many repeat donors and that they are very grateful for those who donate regularly.
“We are very appreciative for our regular donors,” she stressed. “The problem we run into is that once a donor gives blood, they must wait eight weeks before giving again. So those who generously gave last week will have to wait for eight weeks before they can give again. We are in constant need of new donors to make up for the regular donors that are in the waiting period,” explained Fenney.
The RN added that because it is summer, many regular donors may be on vacation or away from home and cannot donate.
“I would like to express our appreciation to all those who read the article last week in The Sampson Independent and responded by coming in. The community support we have received is wonderful. We are still in critical need, however, and more new donors are needed.
The SRMC Blood Center is open daily Monday through Friday for donations. The center is open from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday and from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Friday. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the SRMC’s Blood Donor Center at 910-592-8511, ext.8442.
Businesses are gearing up for a couple of in-house drives in July, and at least one church is holding a public drive in the later this week.
Employees at Smithfield will have an opportunity to donate from 9 to 11 a.m. and from 1 to 4 p.m., on July 19; and Star Telephone employees can give from 9 to 11 a.m. and from 1 to 4 p.m., on July 26. The general public can take advantage of a blood drive being held Thursday from 3:30 until 7:30 p.m. at Grove Park Baptist Church, located at 609 Northeast Blvd. Anyone wishing to donate may just stop by and give.
Finney said she would like to see more civic groups and churches become involved in sponsoring a blood drive.
“We are always open to holding a blood drive. Anyone interested in conducting one can contact us at the center or come by SRMC and we will get you set up. Grove Park has dedicated themselves to hold a blood drive each quarter and this is their second drive. Hopefully, it will be as successful as their first one,” remarked the nurse.
The plea continues, she said, because what the hospital is facing is not unique.
“Blood supplies at all blood centers are down in the summer and the places where we can draw from when our supplies are low cannot meet their own needs much less supply blood to other locations. That is why the need is so critical at this time. Summer is a time when many people have plans on so many other things that they over ook the need to donate. But because of the increased travel and physical activity that occurs in summer, it can be a time when the need for blood increases,” said Cava. “Often that is the reason we experience a blood shortage crisis. This also occurs during holiday periods,” added the director.
And donating, hospital officials assure, is quick and virtually painless.
“The process of donating blood is really not that complicated nor is it really painful. We will prick your finger during the evaluation to see if your levels are high enough to give and we do a few simple tests to ensure that you are in good physical condition to be safe to donate and a brief question period related to your health such as foreign travel and recent illnesses are asked then once you are given the green light to donate you get to relax on a table and a needle is inserted into your arm and the blood is drawn. The whole process is less that an hour,” explained Fenney.
Following the donation, soft drink and a cracker or cookie is given to ensure that you start replacing the fluids your body just lost.
Finney shared that during many of the church drives the event is a big social gathering where people come support each other and visit while the donors are waiting to be evaluated or waiting for a table.
“We encourage anyone that has never given to come out and try. We do not force anyone and the blood you donate may save the lives of several others. The need is great and we need you to help,” stated the nurse.