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Shortages spur blood drive effort

By Staff | Jul 2, 2011

The Lee Memorial Blood Center will hold multiple blood drives in the community during the next couple of weeks to tackle the blood shortage they are currently experiencing.
Community Relations Director of Lee Memorial Blood Center Nancy Hendrick said they are in need of all blood types, but especially O negative and A negative.
“All blood types are always welcome because you never know what blood type is needed in emergency situations,” Hendrick said.
Due to the departure of winter visitors and school being let out for the summer, Lee Memorial Blood Center is experiencing a shortage of 60 percent in blood supplies.
She said O negative blood, which only 9 percent of the population has, is universal — when an individual with a trauma visits the hospital they are usually given O negative blood type first before the staff determines their blood type.
Although O negative is a universal blood type, Hendrick said if an individual is O negative they only can receive O negative blood type back.
Only 7 percent of the population has an A negative blood type.
The most common blood type is O positive, with 40 percent of the population having that blood type. Thirty-one percent of the population has A positive blood type.
The Lee Memorial Blood Center BloodMobile will make its way around the community in the next few weeks to provide donors with the opportunity to help Lee Memorial Blood Center combat summer blood shortages.
A photo ID is needed for first-time donors. Before donating blood, individuals should be hydrated and eat high fiber foods.
The first of the many bloodmobile appearances will be held on Sunday at Christian Life Fellowship Church, 1200 S.W. 20th Ave., from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.
The second drive will be held on Tuesday, July 5, at Curves, 1213 S.E. 47th Terrace from 8 a.m. until noon. It will then travel to Sweetbay Supermarket, 1016 Cape Coral Parkway from 1 p.m. -3:30 p.m. on the same day.
Although people can donate blood at the Cape Coral Hospital Donor Center Monday through Friday, it will be closed on Monday for the Fourth of July. The normal hours are from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
For information call the Cape Coral Hospital Donor Center at 239-424-2400.
Another blood drive will be held at HealthPark for the Fun in the Sun Hospital Blood Drive on Wednesday, July 6, and Thursday, July 7. The drive will be held in the HealthPark atrium from 9:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Wednesday and from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Thursday.
Hendrick said each donor will receive a duffel bag with area business coupons and chances to win prizes. Food and drinks will be provided.
The Lee Memorial Blood Center BloodMobile will travel back to Cape Coral on Sunday, July 10, at St. Andrew Catholic Church, 2628 Del Prado Blvd. from 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.
On Tuesday, July 12, the bloodmobile will travel back into Fort Myers to Lee Memorial Hospital from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. for those who wish to donate their blood.
It then will travel to Edison State College on July 13 in parking lot No. 3 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Hendrick said they need 800 units of blood and blood products a week just to sustain the demand, which is an increase of the 600 units they used to need each week to fulfill that demand.
“The usage is still high even in the slow summer,” she said.
She said the majority of the blood donations go to the Regional Cancer Center and the Children’s Hospital. The cancer center alone uses between 300 to 350 units of blood and blood products a week.
Hendrick said after they receive the blood donation it is then separated into three components — red cells, platelets and plasma.
She said they also are always in need of platelet donors at their donor centers because it is used for cancer patients, traumatic injuries and open heart surgeries.
Platelet donations can only be stored for five days and Lee Memorial needs 14 products a day to handle the need.
Hendrick said being a platelet donor requires someone to volunteer their time for 70 minutes to an hour and a half while watching TV, DVDs, listening to music or sitting back and relaxing while saving lives.
Those who wish to donate their platelets need to schedule an appointment, Hendricks said, for their convenience.
All blood and blood products donated remain in the Lee Memorial Health System to help those who live in the community.
For more information about the Lee Memorial Blood Center visit
www.leememorial.org/bloodcenter/index.asp .