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Why You Should Donate Blood

Mar 07, 2017

Recently I was browsing the internet when I came across two facts about blood donation. The first: Every two seconds someone in the United States needs to be given blood. That means if it takes you two minutes to read this post, 60 people will have needed or received a transfusion.

The second: Each year, 38 percent of Americans are eligible to give blood - but only 10 percent do so.

This is concerning. Concerning to me as a person, concerning to me as a blood donor, but most importantly, concerning to me as a person who works at a Level I Trauma Center.

When a trauma patient enters the doors of the University of Utah Hospital, blood is one of the most precious resources that our trauma team has. It saves lives. We have protocols that surround blood use in the trauma bay because we as a trauma team understand the benefits and preciousness of this resource.

ARUP, which is the organization that is responsible for the blood bank at University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics, is a close member of our trauma team. Together, we have worked tirelessly to make the process of getting blood to our patients as streamlined as we can. I know I continue to say this, but we recognize that this is a precious resource that we do not want to waste. Our trauma providers don't want to waste blood as it may mean life or death not only to the patient who has presented to the trauma bay but to the one who is coming in next.

This is where the public can come in. The public is where a tremendous amount of donor blood comes from. According to ARUP's website, there are a few qualifications that you need to be able to donate your blood.

  • You must be at least 16 years of age
  • You must weigh at least 110 lbs (50kg)
  • You need to bring a photo ID
  • You must NOT have donated blood within the last 56 days

ARUP asks that you DO NOT donate blood if:

  • You have a cold or flu symptoms or don't feel well the day of donation
  • Have taken oral antibiotics in the past seven days
  • Have had hepatitis after the age of 11
  • Have received blood transfusions within the last 12 months
  • Have had a tattoo, body piercing, acupuncture, an accidental needle stick, or have come in contact with someone else's blood in the past 12 months
  • Have had malaria or have traveled to a malarial-risk area within the past 12 months
  • Are pregnant
  • Have been treated for syphilis or gonorrhea in the past 12 months
  • Have ever used a needle to inject nonprescription drugs (including steroids)
  • Have or are at risk for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS

Blood is an important component of resuscitating a trauma patient after being severely injured. Blood is one of the most essential tools that our trauma surgeons have to utilize to save someone's life. If there is a shortage of blood, then people can die.

If you are able, please take the time to donate. Your donation could mean life or death to a trauma patient.