With the area blood supply at a critically low level, caregivers are counting on a successful drive next week at JPS Health Network.
“The summer season is usually a tough time to get blood donations because people are traveling and school is out,” said Allison Kelly, Transfusion Safety Program Coordinator at JPS. “But things are even tougher this year because of unusual circumstances. A lot of our blood drives take place at businesses, and with people working from home or shutting down because of the COVID-19 situation, the blood drives we count on to get us through just aren’t happening.”
Carter Blood Supply, which makes sure JPS and other hospitals across the Dallas-Fort Worth region have the blood products they need to save lives, usually aims to have a three-day supply of blood on hand, according to field consultant Kami Ludwig. It currently has less than one day worth of blood – about 1,000 units for the entire DFW Metroplex – in stock.
“We really need the support of JPS right now,” Ludwig said. “It’s our duty to make sure it is on the shelf when patients need it. If you donate a pint of blood, it could save three lives. It only takes about 45 minutes to make all the difference for someone.”
The blood is needed to give doctors and nurses the resources they need to help trauma patients who come through the door. The demand has only increased as JPS and other area hospitals resumed elective surgeries in addition to these emergency procedures.
“Usually, if we’re low on blood supplies in the area, we can reach out to surrounding areas,” Kelly said. “Unfortunately, this is a nationwide shortage. There is nowhere to turn for help. We need to find our own blood supply locally.”
Kelly and Ludwig agreed that, while many area blood drives have been canceled because of the pandemic, the ones that have happened over the past three months have been lightly attended. That’s likely because people who would otherwise participate are concerned about contracting COVID-19 so they’re staying home.
“We’re doing everything we can to make people feel safe,” Kelly said. “We’ll be setting up a mobile unit in the parking lot so they don’t even have to come inside the building. Everyone will be wearing masks and we will be sure to keep everything – including our hands – properly sanitized.”
To keep social distancing protocols, donors need to register for an appointment in advance online, that way there will be less waiting and around the blood drive. The next drive at JPS is scheduled for Monday, June 22 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. To sign-up, go to: https://ww3.greatpartners.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/109524.
This JPS blood drive could be a game-changer for the region, Ludwig said, adding that she hopes it will be the first of many successful drives in the coming weeks.