The Ohio University School of Nursing, in collaboration with the American Red Cross, will hold its annual blood drive amid a shortage of blood donations across the nation.
The event will take place Wednesday in the Baker Center Ballroom from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. with the goal of collecting 200 units for patients in need.
“Blood donation can help so many people,” Keshav Deshpande, a trauma, acute care and critical care surgeon at OhioHealth Grant Medical Center in Columbus, said. “This helps those patients in a situation of emergency, cancer patients … obstetric patients who, after they deliver a baby ... lose a lot of blood. They benefit from this as well.”
To donate blood, one must be in good health, be at least 16 years of age and must weigh at least 110 pounds. To give two pints of blood, male donors must be at least 17 years of age and weigh at least 130 pounds, and female donors must be at least 19 years old and weigh a minimum of 150 pounds.
The need for blood this year is more serious than in the past due to the nationwide blood shortage, according to a previous Post report.
Health professionals are especially trying to encourage those who have Type O blood to donate, as it is the universal donor, Deshpande said.
COVID-19 has been a main reason for the shortage in blood donations, which has affected hospitals country-wide.
“We are down to our lowest post-summer levels in six years,” Marita Salkowski, regional communications director for the central and southern Ohio region of the American Red Cross, said. “We are not seeing the turnout to donate this fall as we have in previous falls.”
The School of Nursing is doing its best to help contribute to the solution of this blood shortage due to the lack of donations because of the pandemic.
“It’s one of the biggest blood drives in the region,” Cameron McCay, president of Bachelor of Science in Nursing Organization, or BSNO, and a fifth-year studying nursing, said. “The Red Crosses, they’ve really struggled with getting donations with COVID and people going back to in-person activities.”
In previous years, there were also activities planned to bring more people into this event. However, it has been scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic, Salkowski said.
Both donors and staff are required to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status, and will be required to social distance. The blood drive will also be by appointment only, McCay said.
Although walk-ins are not allowed, anyone may sign up to fill-in for a cancelation. To fill in, the donor will be called and must be able to get to Baker Center within 15 minutes of the original appointment time.
“Our goal is really to, hopefully, get them (The Red Cross) back on track with their collection, give back to our surrounding communities and be able to support our regional hospitals when people really need those products,” McCay said.