Medical advancements have created artificial substitutes for many needs from limbs to internal organs, but one of our most precious and life-saving resources – human blood – is not one of them.
Patients who require blood transfusions rely on healthy humans to donate blood at community blood drives and blood centers across the nation so that blood and blood products are available at local hospitals.
“The fact is there is no other source of human blood,” said Dr. Bradford Collins, a board-certified pathologist and medical director of Laboratory Services at Beaufort Memorial. “It cannot be manufactured or produced in any other way, so the importance of volunteer blood donors to the health of our patients cannot be overstated or overvalued.”
Dr. Collins is keenly aware of the importance of blood donors to patients in the community.
“The availability of safe, reliable blood products can literally mean the difference between life and death for patients who need them,” he said.
For example, Beaufort Memorial uses about 200 pints of blood per month. Officials expect that number to increase as the hospital system expands its surgical capacity and its operations throughout the county. Hospitalized patients require blood for a variety of reasons, including as a result of car accidents, traumatic injuries and surgical blood loss, among others.
In fact, it was for this reason that in 2002 Dr. Collins, along with dozens of hospital and community leaders, began developing a community blood center in Beaufort to provide for patients at the hospital.
Now known as OneBlood, the center and its staff have a 20-year history of collecting blood from local donors throughout Beaufort County and surrounding areas to ensure that patients in the community always have the blood products they need, when they need them.
One pint of blood can save up to three lives, and eligible donors can roll up their sleeves every 56 days to donate. Almost anyone can donate, but unfortunately only 5% to 10% of eligible donors give, and even fewer do so regularly.
Donors must be in good health, at least 16 years of age, and weigh more than 110 pounds to be eligible.
OneBlood partners with businesses, schools, neighborhoods and community organizations to host mobile blood collection events several times each month. During the winter months, blood donations are historically low, and several drives are scheduled throughout southern Beaufort County, including a drive in Sun City on Feb. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lakehouse.
They also operate a free-standing center on Boundary Street in Beaufort. To find a location to donate, visit OneBlood.org/donate-now.
“We are so grateful to the thousands of people who have rolled up their sleeves to selflessly provide this resource to patients at Beaufort Memorial,” Dr. Collins said. “If you’re thinking about becoming a regular donor, the time is now.”
Courtney McDermott is a local freelance writer with nearly two decades of experience in marketing and writing about healthcare.