Local blood collection center celebrates National Doctors’ Day by giving back to frontline workers

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — A local blood collection center is celebrating National Doctors’ Day Tuesday by giving back to frontline health care workers.

The Blood Connection (TBC) is donating $5 to Doctors Without Borders USA for every blood donation given on Tuesday, March 30, at a TBC center or bloodmobile. Donors will also receive a $20 gift card.

Organizers say they wanted to give back as a thank you to local doctors and nurses for their work during the pandemic and their dedication to the community.

“One of the things with emergency care is that we never know what’s coming through the door,” Emergency Medical Doctor at Trident Medical Center Dr. Kenneth Perry said. “So every day we come into work, and we don’t know if someone is going to have a heart attack, we don’t know if someone is going to overturn their car, or if someone is going to get into an accident at work.”

“These all sometimes require blood products. And since we don’t know what’s going to happen that day, we have to have the supply because we’re not able to know what’s coming,” he added.

According to TBC, almost 293,000 blood products donated through their sites were sent to local hospitals in 2020 to help patients who rely on blood donations.

On average, TBC collected 72% of its daily goal in March, but anything less than 100% means there’s an accumulating deficit.

“If you don’t donate, that blood’s not going to be there,” Medical Director of Transfusion Service at MUSC Hospital Dr. Jerry Squires said. “It won’t be there for you if you need it, it won’t be there for your family if they need it, it won’t be there for your neighbors.”

To have a seven-day stockpile of all blood types, TBC needs to collect over 100% of the daily goal every 24 hours, which means more than 800 blood donations per day.

Organizers say because of the pandemic, there was a 54% increase from 2019 in the number of blood products collected, sent and used at TBC hospital partners, which saved thousands of lives.

“The donor proportion of the community is critical. We could not run a medical center without blood and without blood products. Recognize that when you donate a pint of blood, you’re not producing one product, you’re producing several products that are tailor-made to what a patient’s needs are,” Hematologist and Medical Oncologist at Roper Hospital Dr. George Geils said.

“I would like to thank the donors of The Blood Connection. Realize that you have other options for places to donate, but when you donate to The Blood Connection, you’re donating locally for patients locally,” he added.

TBC has implemented a new COVID-19 antibody screening that will test each donor’s blood to see if it contains the antibodies from the COVID-19 vaccine and/or antibodies from exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Donors don’t need to be vaccinated to donate blood.

You can sign up to donate blood at the TBC Savannah Center HERE.

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