Donating Blood isn’t so scary after all

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This Halloween season, Dr. Dylan Wyatt, an Emergency Medicine Physician at St. Luke’s, shows us that donating blood isn’t so scary after all. We followed him to Memorial Blood Center to see the process of donating blood. On average, he sees blood donations saves live 2-4 time per a week.

There is an urgent need for blood and platelet donations. All types are needed. This is a problem that has been going on for quite some time. It’s likely that the pandemic triggered it, but the blood banks haven’t caught up yet.

Angela Engblom says that throughout the 25 years she’s worked for Innovation Blood Resources, she’s seen times where they’ve experienced shortages but this scenario is different. “This has been a lengthy period of time that we’ve been continually short.”

“We are always judicious about blood products. We only want utilize them when we absolutely have to. But there were time when started to get the felling of- ‘oh boy, if we’re not careful about things and the supply doesn’t pick up a little bit, we may need to start to make some really tough choices.'” Dylan told us.

The whole process takes about an hour, in which they’ll determine if it’s healthy for you to give blood. There are some requirements you have to meet. In fact, only 38% of the population can give blood, according The Red Cross. You’ll complete an interview in a private room. Angela tells us, “We do a little mini-physical in the interview process where we poke the finger. And that’s what donors actually complain about the most is the little finger prick, which really is nothing more than really getting a mosquito bite.” The actually giving of the blood takes about 15 minutes. You can barely feel the needle go into a vein.

Dr. Dylan recommends focusing on how you’ll be able to save a life, rather than needle if that’s uncomfortable for you. “Focus on the process of the donation. Bring someone you love to chat with and distract you- whichever way that works for you,” he tells us.

Memorial Blood Center has appointments available daily.