‘Blood donation is a wonderful thing’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 9, 2015

West Georgia Health will host a blood drive Wednesday and Thursday in recognition of World Blood Donor Day.

Members of the hospital’s blood bank, along with Lifesouth Community Blood Centers, are organizing the event, which will be held in the Enoch Callaway Cancer Center auditorium at 111 Medical Drive on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The blood drive will continue 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday inside Lifesouth’s Bloodmobile, which will be parked outside West Georgia Medical Center.

“We’re urging anyone who is able to come out and donate blood this week,” said Ellen Eisenbarth, supervisor of the West Georgia Medical Center blood bank. “Our hospital operates solely on donated blood, so we don’t purchase any from outside entities.”

This year’s World Blood Donor Day theme focuses on thanking donors who save lives every day through blood donations and is encouraging people with the slogan, “Give freely, give often. Blood donation matters.”

“There is no artificial substitute for blood donations,” said Eisenbarth. “It’s a resource that comes only from humans.”

Eisenbarth said that blood donations can be used in three different ways by medical workers. The blood cells can be used to aid anemic patients or people who have lost blood in surgery while platelets from donated blood can be used for patients with oncology problems. Plasma, which is the liquid part of the blood, can be used to help patients who are taking blood thinners or similar drugs.

“In a sense, blood donors can save three lives with their donation instead of just one,” said Eisenbarth.

The hospital hosts blood drives every two months in order to maintain a fresh supply of blood donations, she added. Blood donations can only be used within 42 days after the blood was given. Platelets have an even shorter time of use as they only last five days after donation, Eisenbarth said, with medical testing taking place for two of those days.

“Blood donation is a wonderful thing for people who need it,” said Eisenbarth. “People may not realize that they can save lives when they donate blood. We hope that motivates people to come out and help us by giving blood.”

Eisenbarth said that there is no appointments needed to donate blood. Donors must be at least 17 years old, or 16 years old with parents permission, and weigh at least 110 pounds. Participants must also bring a photo I.D.

For more information, contact Lifesouth at 1-888-795-2707 or visit www.lifesouth.org.