Donate blood: Critical shortage in region


How would you like to save someone’s life?

Our region is in critical need of blood. Local hospitals are down to less than a half-day inventory of blood.

Unfortunately, due to donor sickness and winter weather, the amount of blood donated lags behind what is needed.

Patient need for blood remains constant, however, even as donations decline. Blood is essential for surgeries, cancer treatment, chronic illness and traumatic injuries.

Are you able to roll up your sleeve and give at next week’s blood drive? Pagosa Springs Medical Center is partnering with Vitalant (formerly United Blood Services) in a blood drive set for Tuesday, Jan. 29, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the medical center’s boardroom.

There are a few appointments still available, but walk-ins are always welcome on the day of the scheduled blood drive. To schedule an appointment, email Diane Levison at, call 507-3826 or go to and enter sponsor code pagosamedical.

Your donation could save someone’s life.

According to the Red Cross, while 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate, fewer than 10 percent actually do.

Brookhaven National Laboratories offers some interesting information about blood:

• 4.5 million Americans would die each year without life-saving blood transfusions.

• Approximately 32,000 pints of blood are used each day in the United States.

• Every three seconds someone needs blood.

• One out of every 10 people entering a hospital needs blood.

• Just one pint of donated blood can help save as many as three people’s lives.

• If all blood donors gave two to four times a year, it would help prevent blood shortages.

• If you began donating blood at age 17 and donated every 56 days until you reached 76, you would have donated 48 gallons of blood.

• About 3 gallons of blood supports the entire nation’s blood needs for one minute.

• Much of today’s medical care depends on a steady supply of blood from healthy donors.

• One unit of blood can be separated into several components (red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, platelets and cryoprecipitate).

• Platelets help blood to clot and give those with leukemia and other cancers a chance to live.

• People who have been in car accidents and suffered massive blood loss can need transfusions of 50 pints or more of red blood cells.

• The average bone marrow transplant requires 120 units of platelets and about 20 units of red blood cells. Patients undergoing bone marrow transplants need platelet donations from about 120 people and red blood cells from about 20 people.

• Severe burn victims can need 20 units of platelets during their treatment.

• Children being treated for cancer, premature infants and children having heart surgery need blood and platelets from donors of all types.

• Cancer, transplant and trauma patients, and patients undergoing open-heart surgery require platelet transfusions to survive.

• White cells are the body’s primary defense against infection.

• There is no substitute for human blood.

Give someone the precious gift of life by donating blood. One day, the person you love the most might need the same thing.