Shootings, car crashes, traumatic accidents. These have one critical aspect in common: when victims arrive at the hospital, blood can be critical to saving their lives.
When these events hit the news, many of us feel called to donate blood to help. Donating blood is always a good thing to do because blood is always needed.
But the blood that is critical to saving the lives of trauma victims as they arrive at the hospital is blood that was donated before the trauma occurred. Blood that is already at the hospital and ready for use.
What happens to your donated blood?
When you donate blood, it doesn’t go directly to the hospital. Blood transfusions are safer today than they were in the past because blood is typed, tested, and processed before being sent to hospitals. And donations are often distributed based on blood type.
Hospitals with trauma centers may request larger quantities of O negative blood because it can be transfused into victims whose blood type isn’t yet known.
In fact, O negative blood is sometimes carried by ambulances and helicopters that transport trauma victims.
So what is the best way to support trauma victims?
We have to act as if the unthinkable might happen tomorrow or the day after. Because for someone it will. That means we should donate blood on a regular basis to keep the blood supply steady.
Whole blood, which is the most common type of blood donation, can be donated every 56 days but very few people donate that often. If each of us found time to make just one more blood donation than we normally do each year, we could eliminate blood shortages.
Want to know more about the power of your blood? Visit our Target Your Type page to learn about the power of your blood type.