MONDAY JANUARY 9, 2012
January is National Blood Donor Month and it’s your chance to be a hero. Give the gift of life if you see an area blood drive or if your work conducts one.
Nine out of 10 people will need blood at some point during their lifetime. And yet, the chronic shortage of donated blood often means that our hospitals have less than a two-day supply of blood on hand to treat patients. When blood supplies run very low, our hospitals may be forced to ration blood. That may sound scary – and it’s very serious – but hospitals have plans for those low-blood situations. Emergency procedures would receive priority, and elective surgeries would be limited.
In New Jersey, 60 percent of adults are eligible to give blood, but only 3.6 percent do. We fall short of the national average of 5 percent. As a result, New Jersey finds itself in the unwanted position of having to regularly import blood from other states.
Where I work, the New Jersey Hospital Association, we are committed to having blood drives every 60 days. In the past several years we have hosted about 20 workplace drives and collected more than 700 pints of blood. Because blood components can be separated out – into plasma, platelets and the like – those 700 pints have the potential to help 2,100 individuals. I am proud of what our employees give, and need to give special kudos to our own Mary Ditri (whom we now call “Bloody Mary”) for being tireless in organizing and promoting our blood drives. Thanks Mary. Now, who else is going to give a pint?