Kansas blood centers in critical need of donations due to hurricane, summer slowdown
- on August 31, 2011
There is a critical need for blood donations.
Representatives for the American Red Cross and the Community Blood Center, which supply Kansas hospitals, say summer typically is a slow time for donations, but that has been exacerbated by Hurricane Irene.
Both have sent blood to the East Coast.
“We’ve been asked throughout the country to step up our collection efforts,” said Jennifer Keller, communications manager for the American Red Cross Central Plains Region Blood Services. “Those poor people, if their house is underwater or they are without power, donating blood is the last of their worries. So, the beauty of a nationwide blood supply is that in times of need if we collect a little extra here in Kansas, we can send it to the East Coast if it’s needed.”
The American Red Cross supplies blood to most Kansas hospitals and northern Oklahoma. The Community Blood Center in Kansas City, Mo., supplies blood to 72 hospitals in Missouri and Kansas, including Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
Stann Tate, Community Blood Center marketing director, said the center doesn’t typically export blood, but it did recently send about 60 units to areas affected by the hurricane.
“We are in a bit of a hurt right now,” he said.
He said they have less than a day’s supply of A positive blood. They also are short on A negative and O negative. The optimum blood inventory level is three days.
Typically, they are short because people are summer vacations. He added that about 15 percent of its blood supply comes from high school students.
The Community Blood Center must collect at least 580 pints of blood every day to meet the needs of the area. One donation can help as many as two hospital patients.
Nationwide, about 44,000 blood donations are needed every day to meet the needs of accident victims, cancer patients and children with blood disorders. Keller said only 40 percent of the population can donate blood.
To donate, you must:
• Be at least 16 years old.
• Weigh at least 115 pounds.
• Be in good health.
There are several blood drives scheduled in Lawrence. The Community Blood Center’s are:
• Friday — 2:30 p.m.-6 p.m., Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt.
• Sept. 7 — 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Lawrence Memorial Hospital, 325 Maine.
• Sept. 8 — 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m., Crown Automotive, 3430 Iowa.
The American Red Cross is having a drive:
• Sept. 8 — 11:45 a.m.-6 p.m., First Christian Church, 1000 Ky.
To schedule an appointment or for more information, contact:
• American Red Cross — 800-733-2767 or redcrossblood.org
• Community Blood Center — 888-647-4040 or savealifenow.org.