Pathology News

Critical Need for Blood Donations

By Robertson Davenport | 16 March

I am standing in the Blood Bank at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor. I am looking at the refrigerator that contains only one day's supply of blood for the hospital. 

The hospital is full. There are patients who need blood and cannot wait. Some have leukemia. Some are bleeding. Some are infants born with heart disease who will die is they do not have surgery. And, yes, some have COVID.

We are facing a blood crisis. Blood donations have plummeted. Organizations have canceled blood drives. Donors are just not showing up to collection centers. This is entirely unnecessary. 

There are understandable and legitimate reasons why some people cannot donate. If you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, or have traveled to an at-risk county or been diagnosed or had close contact with a person with COVID-19 in the past 28 days, you should not donate blood. But if you are healthy and able to donate there is no reason why you cannot go out and donate.

Blood donation sites are safe. The donors are screened and healthy people. The staff are also screened and healthy people. Blood centers have always followed strict hygiene protocols. Blood donation sites are safer than most homes.

In this time of worry and stress, we need calm and reasoned responses. I have an appointment to donate blood tomorrow morning. Will you join me?

To find a blood drive visit www.redcross.org.

Robertson Davenport, MD
Director of Transfusion Medicine
Michigan Medicine

This letter was written and posted on "Wolverines for Life" on March 13, 2020.

 
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