Giving the Gift of Blood

A 10-minute interview

By Katy Allgeyer
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What if we couldn’t get the blood we need when we needed it? I interviewed Diana McGregor, LPT (Laboratory Testing Personnel) who is the coordinator of United Blood Services at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center to get some answers.

Why are blood donors such a valuable resource, especially during the holidays?
Blood donations traditionally decline during the holiday season because people are busy. They are preparing for get-togethers and holiday events and often don’t make time to donate. The lack of donors during this season raises concerns for local blood supply organizations.

Do we have something similar to “True Blood” — the synthetic popularized on the HBO show?
There is no substitute for human blood. Artificial blood has been trialed for many years, but it works for only a short time. Artificial blood is very useful during wartime or when blood is needed far away from a hospital. Howerver, human blood is always needed later so oxygen can be carried to all the body organs and tissues.

How many units of blood are needed every day to support patients in Arizona?
United Blood Services needs 700 donors every day. When there are shortages in the Valley the entire country helps so we have the blood products we need. When other parts of the country need our help, we are there for them. Floods, tornadoes and other disasters make it hard for people to donate. We all help each other.

Who needs blood?
Over 70 percent of the population will need blood in their lifetime and not just for traumatic events. Because people are living longer thanks to modern science, blood has become a common part of treatment. Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy often require blood products. Babies born early require blood to help their immature bodies develop.

Donating blood is easy. It takes only an hour of your time (the actual donation takes less than 10 minutes) and the one unit you donate is used to save three lives! There are many falsehoods that people believe that prohibit them from donating. Many are no longer true. If you have questions about donation, call Ms. McGregor at (602) 865-5852 or United Blood Services at (800) 288-2199, ext 5497.

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