Sedalia recently received the Community Blood Bank award as the top community in its area for blood donations with a total of 515 units in 2015. Bothwell Regional Health Center Volunteer Coordinator Marge Watson hopes to exceed that number for 2016.
“This year we have been doing really well,” Watson said. “I’m hoping this year it will be even more. I think our last blood drive, we had 91 units collected.”
During the months of December, January and February the Community Blood Bank needs and additional 3,000 units above their normal collection intake. Watson and other BRHC volunteers, along with the Community Blood Bank, are hosting a Winter Blood Drive from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. Tuesday, at First Christian Church.
“The Community Blood Bank supplies all of the blood for all of the hospitals in our area,” Watson said. “From Clinton, Sedalia, Marshall, Warrensburg and then everything west to the state line. The teams that come out of Kansas City, all of those teams have to collect 580 units per day, just to stay equal with the need at the hospitals.”
During the winter the need for blood rises and the donors supplying that need decreases. Watson said an “emergency” need for more blood arises in the winter months due to many people not being able to give because of inclement winter weather, sickness or busy schedules with holiday shopping or traveling.
“Consequently the amount (of donors) often drops for the winter,” she noted. “We have a lot of regulars, the community is outstanding. We have ones that are there like clockwork and are so great to come in and donate, but we are always needing more. Because there is always deferrals.”
Regular donors might be deferred due to low hemoglobin, blood pressure or heart rate problems, illness or a surgical procedure. Watson noted that donations of O negative blood is the type needed most often; O negative is universal and can be used for anyone with any blood type.
“A positive is probably the most common one, we need the A positive also,” she added.
When donating blood, one can give by using the standard blood draw or they can give through automated red cell donation also know asthe Alyx Component Collection System.
“Most of the hospitals, when you’re given blood it is usually packed red blood cells,” Watson said. “With the Alyx machine they sort those out and re-infuse your plasma back to you, so the packed red blood cells then are ready. Once they test it at the center, it can immediately go to be used for patients. Otherwise the whole blood that you normally draw out, that has to go up and be tested and then they have to separate the components.”
Alyx processes the blood faster and allows the donor to give two units verses one in the standard procedure, therefore possibly saving two lives.
“It’s all ready right then as soon as it’s tested,” she noted. “With babies you’re not going to give much in quantity, so you don’t want all of the other components, you just want those (red) cells.”
Watson said BRHC has been setting up blood donation sites in Sedalia since 1974.
“Bothwell has put those volunteers out there to help, anytime that they could,” she noted. “I have about 15 people that volunteers from the hospital.”
Usually Watson uses eight volunteers at a time, four to a sift. Blood donations are received every-other-month always at First Christian Church.
Watson said those who want to donate will find the procedure simple. One signs in and presents a photo ID. They then register and include contact information. Volunteers will go over a form with the donor checking for medications taken or recent surgery. Hemoglobin, blood pressure and pulse is checked and the volunteer double checks the questionnaire. If approved, and once an open bed is available, the donor is placed on the bed and blood is drawn. The standard needle draw takes 15 minutes, the Alyx draw takes approximately 30 minutes.
Volunteers also have tables set up with snacks and juice for the donors when they are finished giving blood.
To give blood visit the Community Blood Bank Winter Blood Drive from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday at First Christian Church, 200 S. Limit Ave. For more information about giving blood or to become a volunteer contact BRHC Volunteer Coordinator Marge Watson at 827-2200 or the Community Blood Bank at 1-877-468-6844 or www.savealifenow.org.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or on Twitter @flbemiss.