Gryphons Give Back: Guelph Students Help Canadian Blood Services Replenish National Inventory

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

  • Canadian Blood Services "Bloodmobile"

    Canadian Blood Services "Bloodmobile"

Written by Jaimee-Lisa Cotter

Right now in Canada there is a national shortage of blood eligible for donation. Inventory is at a critically low level, according to Canadian Blood services who claim they have only a one day supply of blood to meet emergency demands— the lowest reserve they have been operating on in six years.

On October 6 Canadian Blood Services visited the University of Guelph campus to set up a mobile clinic in Peter Clark Hall, and had around 1000 students roll up their sleeves to contribute to the Canadian blood bank.

“We have been thrilled to see so many students wearing the ‘First Time Donor’ stickers this afternoon. We’ve had a great turnout today and are hoping our next mobile clinic at the University of Guelph is just as successful” said Kathy, a registered nurse with Canadian Blood Services who was present at the mobile clinic yesterday.

There were also plenty of returning contributors, donor cards in hand and even some celebrating milestones as they were presented with pins for fifth or tenth donations. Students, faculty and community members that were looking for walk in appointments had filled the clinic by 2:00 in the afternoon, and had to start turning people away because of time constraints.

CBS has claimed that low attendance in donor clinics and the continual need for blood is a bad equation for the 52 per cent of Canadians that have had lifesaving procedures involving transfusions of blood donated through Canadian Blood Services and the approximate thousand Canadians that will continue to rely on blood donations daily.

Canadian Blood Services also estimates that soon they will have less than a three day supply of blood to keep up with anticipated hospital demand. Canadian Blood Services collects around 17000 units of blood per week to meet that quota. Now, they are aiming to meet the immediate requirement of another 75000 units from donors to replenish the national inventory

Procedures that require blood transfusions use more than one unit of blood: a simple hip replacement surgery uses two, aplastic anemia requires four a month, Leukemia patients require up to eight units a week, and internal bleeding and auto accident victims require anywhere from two to 50 units of blood. Many patients of all varieties may have a low blood oxidization level, in which their blood has a hard time maintaining oxygen levels which can then result in a greater risk of chest pains and heart disease.

What happens to your blood after you donate is the part that determines how many lives a donation can save. In early medical methodology, blood transfusions were given using whole blood. Now blood donations are separated using an anticoagulant after whole blood is taken from the donor through an intravenous.

Divided into seven different categories, the most commonly used and identifiable components that donations may be separated into include red blood cells, blood plasma, clotting factors, and immunoglobins (protein antibodies that build up and maintain the human immune system).

After being divided, all components of the blood are tested and screened for disease and other viral infections to ensure the safety of recipients and so that donors may be advised in a private and respectful way should there be anything wrong with their blood.

While all blood donations are welcome, Canadian Blood Services is looking specifically for O and A blood types, and will consistently have a need for O negative blood, considered to be the “universal donor”: anyone—regardless of their own blood type and respective antibodies—can receive O negative blood and have it successfully transfused without risk of rejection.

If you missed your chance to donate at the mobile clinic on campus, Canadian Blood Services will be returning to Peter Clark Hall on Thursday October 30, from 10 am to 4 pm. Guelph also happens to be lucky enough to be home to one of only 41 permanent donation clinic locations. You can register online for an appointment at either of these clinics by going to www.blood.ca or calling 1-888-2-DONATE.

And remember: “It’s in you to give”.


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