May is Trauma Awareness Month and the American Red Cross urges eligible donors to give blood or platelets to help ensure lifesaving blood products are available for trauma patients and others with serious medical needs.
Each year, trauma accounts for approximately 41 million emergency department visits and 2.3 million hospital admissions in the U.S., according to the National Trauma Institute. A single car accident victim can need as many as 100 units of blood.
The Red Cross provides blood to approximately 2,600 hospitals nationwide, including about 100 hospitals throughout the Southern Blood Services Region.
“It’s the blood products on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency,” said Mario Sedlock, director of donor recruitment of the Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region. “When seconds matter, having a readily available blood supply is critical to trauma patient care.”
When there is not time to determine a patient’s blood type, such as in trauma situations, type O negative blood and type AB plasma are what emergency personnel reach for because they can be given to patients with any blood type. Less than 7 percent of the population has type O negative blood, and only about 4 percent of the population has type AB blood. Donors with these blood types are an important part of the trauma team and encouraged to donate as often as they are eligible.
Donors of all blood types are currently needed. Blood donation appointments can be scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Two blood drives are scheduled this month in Liberty and Long counties, both on May 13. Woodlands Healthcare and Rehab, 625 N. Coastal Highway 17, Midway, will hold one from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. And Long County High School, 1844 W. Highway 57, Ludowici, will host a drive from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Donated blood helped save Diana Heredia’s life following a car accident. Suffering from four broken ribs, a lacerated liver and a punctured lung, Heredia received about five units of blood. “I was in pretty bad shape – hospitalized for about 28 days,” she said. “Ever since I’ve tried to recruit blood donors, have blood drives and give blood as much as possible.”