The need for blood donations is growing with the number of drives being halted due to closings.
“We need people to understand with all this going on with coronavirus and travel restrictions, the need for blood is every single day,” said Dr. Dan Waxman, a medical director for Versiti Blood Center of Indiana. “Every single day we need blood products for patients. We want to encourage people to come in and donate, especially if people are off from school and work.”
Waxman said the process is completely safe with sterile needles.
“So, there is nothing someone can catch from being a donor,” he said. “We really want people to come to us to donate because the patient needs are 24/7. The big issue is we set up our blood collection mobiles several months in advance and during this time of year we have our blood collection mobiles at high schools and colleges, so with the closure of these high school and colleges where many students have gone home, there have been cancellations of blood drives.”
In the Versiti system of five states (Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin), more than 100 drives have been canceled, accounting for 2,700 units of blood (as of March 13). That has created a concerning level for the nearly 250 hospitals that Versiti serves.
Waxman said companies closing have hurt as well.
“These organizations are telling their staffs to work virtually,” Waxman said. “In some of these organizations, we could collect 100 donors in a day. Those donors are not at work now, they’re working from home. This is having a profound effect on what we’ve been able to collect.”
Waxman said Indiana needs to collect 560 units every day to ensure hospitals have enough.
“We are trying to get the word out for anyone who is a current donor, or some who was going to donate at a mobile, we would like them to come to one of fixed site locations,”
Visit versiti.org/indiana to find out where donation centers are in the state. There are donation centers at 726 Adams St., Suite 150, Carmel and 11005 Allisonville Rd., Suite C, Fishers.
Waxman said the centers are using 28-day deferral on donating blood from anyone who has returned from China, Iran, South Korea and Italy.
“Anyone who has been in contact with someone who has coronavirus we would have them defer for 28 days,” he said.
The donation takes approximately one hour from start to finish, Waxman said. The actual donation itself takes 15 minutes.
“I will guarantee you if the donor does that, they will save three lives,” Waxman said. “Every blood donation goes to three different products. The main product we need is red blood cells.”