November 19, 2010
Imagine a happy healthy teen. He does well in school and is easy to get along with. Imagine he is diagnosed with leukemia and requires daily platelet and blood transfusions just to stay alive. Now, imagine he has a rare blood type that requires him to be moved to a larger hospital for treatment. This is just another thing for him and his family to worry about. Similar stories happen every day in the United States. It is estimated that every three seconds a patient in the U.S needs a blood transfusion.
Donated blood saves 4.5 million lives in America each year. Yet only 5% of the eligible U.S population donates blood in any given year. This is a sad fact considering healthy donors are the only source of blood. Since it can not be made or harvested, there is no substitute. The blood supply in the US is consistently low, and the demand for it increases each year. Everyone in good health should donate blood at least once a year.
There are many reasons why people should donate. First you should know that it is a safe and healthy thing to do. Not only do you get a free mini physical, including blood pressure check, heart rate, temperature and iron levels, but it is the fastest way to lose a pound! Also, disasters like car accidents, fires, and other trauma cases happen every day and these patients need blood, and rarely do they need only one pint. A bleeding trauma victim can run through 100 units of blood in no time. And because of our growing and aging population, as well as the huge expansion of health care facilities, our blood usage is growing at three times the national rate, and the usage of it outpaces donor collections. With it estimated that up to 85% of us will need blood in our life time it is unlikely that the 5% donating now can sustain the rest.
Many people who do not donate give the same reasons. Number one is they do not like needles or are afraid to do so. Nearly everyone feels that