Bethlehem Press

Monday, July 13, 2020

Resumption of elective surgeries increases need for blood

Monday, May 18, 2020 by The Press in Local News

Miller-Keystone Blood Center (MKBC) has issued an urgent appeal for donors of all blood types, as well as platelets.

According to Executive Director of Donor Operations Qiana Cressman, the current need for blood donations comes as our regional hospitals resume elective surgeries, such as knee or hip replacements.

“In the past, Miller-Keystone Blood Center required approximately 450 donors per day to meet the transfusion needs of our regional hospitals,” Ms. Cressman explains. “However in March, our regional hospitals canceled elective surgeries as they were addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, our daily goal the past two months decreased from approximately 450 to approximately 210.”

“Now that hospitals are resuming elective surgeries, their daily transfusion needs are increasing again, and as a result, so is the number of blood donors we will need to see on a daily basis,” she says.

Cressman added that due to social distancing recommendations, the Blood Center has had to readjust the timing with which they accept blood donations.

“Traditionally, we may have had four or five appointments available at a specific time slot, however due to current social distancing recommendations, we may only have two or three slots available at that time,” she says, noting that if donors are unable to schedule an appointment at their preferred time, they are encouraged to schedule 1-23 weeks out, as their donation will still be critically need to care for cancer patients, accident victims, premature infants and others in need at our regional hospitals.

“Over this next month, the demand at our community hospitals will steadily increase,” Cressman said. “We would just like to remind people that Blood cannot be manufactured, it can only come from the kind generosity of volunteer Blood donors. If there is ever a time to donate, now is that time. Each and every blood donation truly does make a difference.”

In order to donate, individuals must be 16 years of age or older (parental consent required for 16-year-old donors), weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be feeling healthy; they must not have donated in the past eight weeks, however platelet donors are eligible within 8 days of a donation. All donors must also provide valid identification.

While walk-in donors have traditionally been welcome and accepted as time permits, Miller-Keystone Blood Center has temporarily implemented an appointment-only policy. For more information or to schedule a donation, call 800-B-A-DONOR (223-6667). Donors can also visit GIVEaPINT.org to schedule an appointment online.

Contributed article