HCN News & Notes

Baystate Encourages Blood Donation at Community Drives, Donor Center

SPRINGFIELD — Community bloodmobile drives are alive and well at Baystate Health. And there is a great need for blood right now.

“By donating blood, you will become a hero to someone by making sure there is blood on our shelves when a patient desperately needs it. With just one donation — and blood is something that most people can spare — you could help save more than one life,” said Amy Osgood, Baystate Health’s blood donor recruiter.

Blood donations can also be made at Baystate’s Blood Donor Center located on the first floor of the hospital’s Daly Building. Hours are Monday from 8 a.m. to noon; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from noon to 8 p.m.; Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday from 8 a.m. to noon.

Every two seconds, someone in this country needs blood. At least 44,000 blood donations are needed every day to help accident and burn victims, cancer patients, those having surgery, new mothers, premature babies, and many others needing treatment in hospitals and emergency departments across the country. However, only three out of every 100 people in America actually donate blood each year. 

At Baystate Health, 100% of all blood and platelet donations made to the Blood Donor Program are used locally in Western Mass. Each year at Baystate Health, more than 5,800 patients receive more than 23,000 transfusions of blood products.

An average blood donation takes less than 12 minutes. The entire process, from arrival to departure, takes less than an hour. Donors must be age 17 or older, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in good health. New donors will be asked to provide a photo ID. Whole blood donors are able to give blood every eight weeks.

In addition to donating blood, there is always a need for new platelet donors. Platelets are important in the control of bleeding and are generally used in patients with leukemia and other forms of cancer, open-heart surgery patients, transplant patients, and some trauma patients. Since they must be used within five days, maintaining an adequate supply is always a challenge. Baystate’s Blood Donor Center has state-of-the-art plateletpheresis machines called Trimas that are faster, provide a better end product, and use only one needle.

Whole blood can be donated every 56 days and up to seven times each year. Platelet donors, who take part in apheresis, can donate as frequently as every two weeks, or 24 times per year. 

Donors must complete a pre-donation questionnaire each time they donate blood. This is required by the FDA to help ensure that you are safe to donate.

Each year at Baystate Health, more than 6,300 patients receive more than 19,000 transfusions of blood products. Approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U.S., and nearly 7,000 units of platelets and 10,000 units of plasma are need daily. As many as 100 pints of blood can be required for a single car-accident victim. The blood type most often requested by hospitals is type O.

To thank donors after giving blood or platelets at Baystate, they can choose from a variety of gifts throughout the year, such as tickets to Six Flags New England, Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards, Big Y gift cards, or tickets to the Big E.

Also, if you do not know your blood type, about four weeks after your first donation to Baystate Health, your blood type will be recorded and shared with you in person during your next donation.

Any organization or business looking to host the Baystate Health Blood Donor Mobile can call Osgood at (413) 322-4125. To make an appointment at the Blood Donor Center, call (413) 794-4600.

For more information, and to see where the bloodmobile will be throughout Western Mass., visit baystatehealth.org/blooddonor.