Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood.
At Penn Highlands Healthcare, the need for blood is very apparent. Doctors and nurses order blood products from the laboratories daily.
To help supply the blood banks, Penn Highlands Healthcare regularly hosts blood drives throughout the region, but in March, its blood drives have two causes.
Blood drives are being held to honor physicians for the upcoming Doctors’ Day on March 30.
At each drive, donors will get to “vote” for their favorite physicians as a “thank you” for all they do. The winner at each drive will receive a trophy and bragging rights.
The blood drive dates, times and information is as follows:
- 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday, March 1, Penn Highlands Elk Education Center, 763 Johnsonburg Rd., St. Marys. No appointments necessary.
- 12-5:30 p.m., Friday, March 18, Penn Highlands Clearfield, 440 W. Front St., Clearfield. Call 1-800-Red-Cross or go to redcrossblood.org to make an appointment. No walk-ins will be accepted.
- 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Friday, March 18, Penn Highlands DuBois, Central Resource Center, 204 Hospital Ave., DuBois. Call 375-INFO for an appointment. Walk-ins are accepted after 12 p.m.
- 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday, March 28, Penn Highlands Brookville, Education Conference Center, Hospital Road, Brookville. Call 849-1436 for an appointment.
Why the need for blood donations? Most of us think of accident victims as the people who need blood the most. That is very true, but as medicine advances and becomes more specialized, people are living longer and having more procedures done.
Blood products can be used by cancer patients, surgery patients and those with serious illnesses. Blood is used by all ages, including babies.
“It is so important that our communities come out and support our blood drives. Without you, our blood bank shelves would be empty and we wouldn’t be able to help our relatives, friends and neighbors in their time of need,” said Marsha Uhl, assistant vice president of Lab Services for Penn Highlands.
Where does the blood come from? It comes from donations from volunteer donors. This makes patients dependent upon their neighbors and total strangers doing the right thing.
Only 5 percent of the eligible population in the United States donates blood, even though nearly 40 percent of the population is eligible to donate.
Blood has to be collected in advance of any need, because the blood must be on the shelf and ready to use if there is an emergency. It takes about 48 hours for one unit of donated blood to be tested, processed and placed on the shelf of our local laboratory blood banks.
Here are some tips about donating blood:
- Be sure to eat a good meal within two hours of donation and drink plenty of fluids the day of donation and even the day before.
- Wear something comfortable with sleeves that can be rolled up.
- Remember to bring your blood donor card, driver’s license or other photo identification
- Bring a list of medications you are taking and a list of places visited outside of the U.S. in the past three years.
Penn Highlands Healthcare has a very highly trained and skilled staff of physicians. Please come out and show your support by voting for your favorite physician, while giving the precious gift of life, Uhl said.