Thursday, January 29, 2009

REPORTER BLOG: Blood Shortage

By Ed Zelaski

This week we did two stories looking at the blood shortage nationwide and what can be done locally to help alleviate the problem. The American Red Cross reports that it is short on both B negative and O negative blood types. Without blood, patients’ lives are put in jeopardy. To put it simply, when a patient needs blood, there is nothing else that they can have to sustain life.

A Blood Shortage
I never had thought about there being blood shortages before. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been in a situation that required me to think about the blood levels at hospitals. I always figured that there was always enough blood, that people always donated enough. That’s not the case. We’re lucky here in Athens. Right now, O’Bleness Memorial Hospital is not low. That’s because the people of Athens have been generous in giving blood. O’Bleness lab manager Melanie Stetham says that Ohio University students have helped keep the local blood supplies where they need to be. Hearing things like that makes me proud to be a Bobcat. During my time here, I’ve gotten the impression that many students don’t care about the local community. Seeing the generous donations from Ohio University students has begun to change my mind.

Obleness Lab Manager Melanie Stetham on Ohio University blood drives

The Blood Battle

When I first heard about the Blood Battle, I thought it was the name of a cheesy 1970’s horror movie. After I laughed to myself, I went and read more about the actual event. A competition between rival schools to see who can raise more blood? I thought it was a great idea. We’ve dominated Miami in athletic endeavors, so why shouldn’t we be able to raise more blood than them? There is no reason that this will not be a success, I thought to myself. As it turned out, the first part of the battle on Tuesday was a good day for the Red Cross. Ohio University students donated a total of 105 pints of blood. Had I not been reporting for Athens MidDay, I would’ve been one of the many students who, at times, waited 45 minutes to donate blood. I’m sure some only donated to get a win over the rival Redhawks, but it’s still someone donating blood. The second part of the Ohio University – Miami University Blood Battle is on February 16 and runs from noon until 7:00 pm. It takes place in Baker Center.

The Simplicity of Donating Blood
Before doing this story, I had never been to a blood drive. A lot of my friends had donated blood, but I never went with them. Why? I never went because I am afraid to donate blood. I’m not sure why I am; I’m not afraid of needles. I have no problem going to the doctor to get a shot. But, for some reason, the thought of blood coming out of my body makes me nervous. Now that I’ve seen someone actually donate blood, I’m not really sure what I was scared about. The process couldn’t be simpler or easier. It’s just like getting a shot in your arm with just a ball on the end that you squeeze to make the blood flow faster. I realize that this is something that I can do and that donating blood is not at all scary.

Upcoming Blood Drives

Want to donate blood? You can go to the American Red Cross blood donation website and find a drive in your area. Here are some upcoming ones in Athens:

January 30, 2009 – HDL Center Room 208 – 9:00am to 3:00pm
February 2, 2009 – Ohio University Irvin Hall – 12:00pm to 5:00pm
February 2, 2009 – Ohio University Washington Hall – 1:00pm to 7:00pm
February 2, 2009 – Walmart-Athens Parking Lot – 1:00pm to 7:00pm
February 4, 2009 – Ohio University James Hall – 12:00pm to 6:00pm

Get out there and donate!

I encourage everyone to get out and donate blood. I plan on going to the second part of the Ohio University-Miami University Blood Battle and donating blood. There are some basic rules, though. You have to be at least 17 years old, weigh 110lbs, and be in good health. For more detailed guidelines, you can go to the eligibility section on the Red Cross website.

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