By Angela Wirth
Special to The SUN
Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. The importance of giving blood has become more crucial for our area as we are in critical need of blood supply.
According to Kristan Velarde, senior donor recruitment representative of the Four Corners area, “I have been advised that we are now down to less than a half day of blood supplies for local hospitals. Most blood drives are not doing well due to sickness of donors and/or weather cancellations across our regions.”
Pagosa Springs Medical Center’s (PSMC) Emergency Department, surgery, and cancer center all depend on blood donors for daily patient care. Many people believe that much of the blood that is donated is needed after major disasters; however, daily personal emergencies and ongoing medical needs require a constant and ready blood supply.
Each year, trauma accounts for approximately 41 million emergency department visits and 2.3 million hospital admissions in the U.S., according to the National Trauma Institute. A single car accident victim may need as many as 100 units of blood.
Dr. Ralph Battels, Emergency Department physician and chief of staff at PSMC, stated, “Acute trauma or other life-threatening bleeding may need multiple units of blood. If not immediately available, outcomes are much less favorable.”
In PSMC’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, donated blood is used continually for a variety of diagnoses.
According to Kelly Cesary, oncology NP of the cancer center, “We see patients with both malignant and benign diagnoses that require support with blood products. Receiving blood can be critical for patients with bone marrow disorders. The blood can help keep a cancer patient alive until they are able to receive chemotherapy or a bone marrow or stem cell transplant that could subsequently save their life. We see patients who have severe anemia related to a bleed in their body or a mineral deficiency. Blood for these patients can save their lives by preventing cardiac complications associated with low red blood cell counts and helping their body function while they recover or are treated for the cause of their anemia.”
Understanding how crucial blood donations are for this community, PSMC partners with Vitalant (formerly United Blood Services) to provide quarterly blood drives. The next blood drive will be on Tuesday, Jan. 29, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the PSMC board room. There are a few appointments still available, but walk-ins are always welcome on the day of the scheduled blood drive. Also, look for a future blood drive on May 21 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, email Diane Levison at Diane.Levison@PSMedicalCenter.org, call 507-3826 or go to www.vitalant.org and enter sponsor code: pagosamedical.
And, remember, just one donation can save up to three lives.
By Angela Wirth