This month – June – is National Blood Donor Month and FleetWatch urges all those who are eligible to please donate a pint to help those in need.
If you follow our Fleetwatch Facebook page, you will have an idea of the large number of horror crashes that take place on a daily basis on our roads. And these are only a few of them. There are many more that we do not feature. In many of these, people are injured – some with minor injuries and others critical. Your pint could help save the lives of some of these people.
As an Emergency Medical Service provider, ER24 paramedics see first hand the effect severe blood loss has on patients in both trauma and medical-related cases. Severe blood loss can lead to a number of complications and result in death.
Derrick Banks, ER24 Hillcrest branch manager, says each situation and patient is different. “We attend to patients injured in collisions, people injured after falling from heights and patients who are shot or stabbed. When paramedics arrive on the scene of any situation, they assess and conduct a primary overview of the patient. If the patient has any signs of severe bleeding, paramedics try stop or limit the bleeding but it is vital that a patient with severe blood loss receives immediate emergency care.”
Blood carries oxygen and other essential substances to organs and tissues. Hypovolemic shock – also known as hemorrhagic shock – is a life-threatening condition that occurs when a person loses more than 20 percent of their blood or fluid supply. This makes it impossible for the heart to pump sufficient blood to the body and as a result, a patient risks organ failure or death.
“Just recently we had a patient who suffered traumatic injuries to an arm and leg following a vehicle collision. She needed blood due to the severity of the injuries she sustained. She was rushed to a nearby hospital where she underwent surgery. The surgery went well and she is recovering. This is just one example highlighting the positive impact a person can make by donating blood,” he says.
Banks himself is a blood donor and has just donated his 50th unit of blood. “I come from a family of blood donors. I started donating blood when I was 16 years of age while still in high school. At the time, I did not even think I was going to be a medic but things have a funny way of turning out,” he says.
Speaking from personal experience, he says his daughter was only two days old when she had to undergo surgery and needed blood during the operation. “I know giving blood is not for everybody but taking 30 minutes out of your day could help those in need,” he says.
By donating just one unit of blood, which is 480ml, you can help save up to three lives.
There are certain requirements for those wanting to donate blood. Donors must be between the ages of 16 and 65, be a minimum weight of 50kg, be in good health and live a sexually safe lifestyle. A health questionnaire will be given to you and blood bank personnel will guide you through the process.
So c’mon all. Give it a go. You’ll never know whose life you’ve saved by doing so but what you will know is that you’ve saved someone’s life. That’s got to be a pretty good feeling.