Letter to the Editor

PCHPCA advocates giving blood regularly

Monday, January 2, 2023

To the Editor:

January is more than just the start of the New Year. Itís also National Blood Donor Month, an opportunity to recognize those across the country who regularly roll up their sleeves and help save lives.

Without the generosity of those who give so selflessly, millions of patients each year would not have the blood they require for emergency needs or ongoing treatments.†

According to ADRP, an international division of Americaís Blood Centers, only three percent of the U.S. population donates blood. This is not enough to consistently support the demand. Many communities experience severe blood shortages.

All of us are likely to know someone who will need blood. The ADRP reports that one in seven patients entering a hospital requires blood to be available. These patients range from trauma victims to persons battling sickle cell disease or who need an organ or bone marrow transplant.

Cancer patients use 25 percent of all blood donations, and blood transfusions are needed in one out of every 83 newborn deliveries in America today. Every two seconds, someone in America needs a blood transfusion.

Blood is unique in our health care ecosystem. It cannot be synthetically made, meaning volunteer donors are the only way to provide blood to those in need.

Donating blood takes as little as 10 minutes. Donating blood is also easy, safe and can be done every 56 days, giving all of us many opportunities to do a lot of good each year.

A blood donation can take anywhere from 12 to 48 hours to become available for patients in need, because all donated blood is run through more than a dozen tests to make sure it is safe for transfusion.

Weíve all seen the images of people lining up at blood centers following an emergency, for which we are all grateful. However, it is the blood already on the shelf at the time of an event that helps those in immediate need. Thatís why the best way to help during the next emergency is to give generously right now.††

Several organizations in Putnam County organize regular blood drives. Mill Pond Health Campus is holding a blood drive on Jan. 19. Putnam County Hospital organizes blood drives regularly. It is critical that donors seize these opportunities and make giving blood a routine way of giving back.

As we make our resolutions for the new year, I encourage all of you who can to make blood donation a priority for 2023.

Elaine Peck

Director, Putnam County Hospice and Palliative Care Association