Indiana Needs New Blood

The Indiana Blood Center serves more than 60 hospitals, providing them with donations of blood products given by more than 100,000 people each year. That sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? But it’s not enough. On January 5, 2015, the blood center was unable to fill 53 hospital orders for blood, due to a critical shortage; the next day it was unable to fill more than 100 hospital orders. What if it were your husband or wife, son or daughter who needed the blood after a surgery or car wreck or industrial accident?

Every two seconds, somewhere in the United States a person needs a blood transfusion. The American Red Cross says that nationally more than 41,000 blood donations are needed every day. Here at home, the Indiana Blood Center needs 550 blood donors each day of the year. Unfortunately, when the weather gets cold and the roads get icy, potential donors are likely to put off making that lifesaving trip to the blood bank. Holiday busyness and cold and flu season also keep winter donations down.

January has been designated National Blood Donor Month, possibly because it’s a month when donations are at a low point. In December, almost 11,000 volunteers gave blood at one of Indiana’s eight blood center locations or one of 331 blood drives across the state. But red blood cells can be stored for about 42 days and most donated platelets can be stored for only 5 days. The need is constant.

Three Cheers for the Colts!

Among those who were helping in the year-end effort were the Indianapolis Colts. They may not have prevailed in the AFC championship game against the Patriots, but for Hoosiers who have recently needed blood products, the Colts are winners nevertheless. For the 15th year, the Colts teamed up with the Indiana Blood Center for the Bleed Blue Blood Drive. On December 13, 1,942 individuals donated blood at Lucas Oil Stadium, the largest single-day blood drive in Indiana history.

Who are the likely beneficiaries of these donations? Surgery patients, cancer victims, people injured in wrecks and fires, transplant recipients, and others…

  • A heart surgery patient needs up to 6 units of red blood cells and 1 platelet transfusion.
  • A liver transplant recipient needs up to 20 units of red blood cells, 25 units of plasma and 2 platelet transfusions.
  • A cancer patient needs up to 8 platelet transfusions per week. Cancer patients account for almost 20 percent of all blood transfusions given.
  • A sickle cell anemia patient needs 2 to 10 units of red blood cells per treatment.
  • A marrow transplant recipient needs up to 20 units of red blood cells and 25 platelet transfusions.
  • According to the American Red Cross, a single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.
  • A trauma victim may need up to 50 units of red blood cells as well as plasma and platelets.
  • Severe burn victims require approximately 20 units of plasma.
  • One in seven people will need a blood transfusion sometime in their lifetime — and it could be you or your loved one.

How You Can Help

Visit the Indiana Blood Center website to learn more about being a blood donor. Even if you made a generous contribution in December, you already may be eligible to do it again. Whole blood can be donated every 56 days; platelets can be donated every 7 days; double red cells can be donated every 112 days; plasma can be donated every 28 days.

For help obtaining compensation for an injury arising from a car or truck accident, a motorcycle wreck, a bicycle or pedestrian hit-and-run, or a workplace disaster, call McNeely Stephenson, Indianapolis personal injury lawyers, by dialing 1-317-825-5200 or using our online contact form. For help obtaining blood needed during your treatment, look to your fellow Hoosiers who answered the call before you made it.