Written by Will Lewis
On Wednesday, the Southeastern Community Blood Center (SCBC) hosted the President’s Inaugural Blood Drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the UC parking lot.
The blood drive, which was held in partnership with Kappa Delta Sorority and Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, was held in response to the recent shortage of O negative blood in the Tallahassee area.
On March 28, SCBC released a “critical appeal” to all donors in the Valdosta and Cordele areas. The statement said that due to an increased amount of transfusions, area hospitals have run low on O negative blood.
“Trauma patients, premature babies and those undergoing emergency surgery rely on O negative type blood, and it is currently at a critical level as we enter this holiday weekend,” the March 28 statement read.
According to the release, donations can save up to three lives per donor.
“There is always a need for it, and there is always potential that we could run out,” Claire Bowen, OneBlood community relations coordinator, said. “There is always that chance that patients that need it will have to wait longer for a transfusion, or they may not be able to receive it until it is too late.”
O negative blood is convenient because of its versatility. It is the only blood type that is universally acceptable by all transfusion patients. OneBlood emphasized the need for O negative as a driving force to bring out more donors.
“In an emergency situation if someone was to come in and need blood, we would not have to test their blood type beforehand; we would just give them O negative.”
The shortage emerged in the last few weeks as supplies dwindled. Bowen said that normally they try to maintain a five day supply of each blood type at every hospital.
According to Bowen, SCBC won’t release a statement requesting a specific blood type unless supplies fall beneath the two day supply line.
SCBC holds blood drives regularly in the Valdosta area and makes a consistent effort to visit VSU campus once a month.
The shortage falls on the cusp of the summer months. These months are the slowest for SCBC, according to Bowen.
“It gets worse as the summer months come on, people get out of their regular donating habit,” Bowen said. “People go on vacation; schools go out for summer, so it is even more difficult at that time.”
Schools and universities are a major source of blood for SCBC, with 15 percent of all donations coming from high school students.
SCBC is a division of OneBlood, Inc. The nonprofit organization is solely responsible for the blood supplies of both of Valdosta’s area hospitals, South Georgia Medical Center and Smith Northview Hospital.
SCBC will hold its next Valdosta area blood drive on April 9 at the Presbyterian Student Center on 1510 N. Oak Street.
Donors should be 16 years of age or older and weigh at least 110 pounds. People interested in donating should direct all other eligibility questions to 850-877-7181.