As you may already know, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, blood banks around the world are experiencing shortages of blood necessary to treat patients who rely on blood based therapies or those involved in accidents. Not only are people making self-isolation a priority to assist in flattening the curve, but some are concerned about the safety of giving blood at this time.
Knowing what I do about the blood collection industry, and hearing about this shortage I decided to give blood for the first time in my life. In this post I’ll talk a little more about why, and what my overall experience was like.
Giving blood was something I had considered in the past, but never really got around to.
My previous workplace had blood drives fairly often and I always wanted to join in, but my role was very demanding so it was hard to break away to participate. Upon making the move to work with Computype, a company that works closely with the blood collection and transfusion medicine industries, donating was still at the back of my mind—but with the focus of my job initially being on customers in the tire and rubber industries it often seemed far away.
Additionally, there had been times that I, or others around me had looked into giving blood, but were turned away. The blood collection center in my area seemed to always have an abundant supply thanks to an active community of regular donors.
There were two main events that led me make the decision to give blood this past week:
- I’ve recently become more involved in the healthcare side of things here at Computype. With this shift I’ve learned more about where our labels are going, the purposes they serve and ultimately the many ways blood donations are used to treat patients.
- The thing that led me to act at this time in particular, was a post my wife shared with me on Facebook. Her friend had shared a post highlighting a shortage of blood in my area and that a local collection center had opened a pop-up collection center.
The number of appointments available was striking to me, since as I mentioned previously, our local center was often fully booked. With that, my wife and I decided to schedule appointments and go to the pop-up collection center together.
Luckily I’m not scared of needles or anything, so my main concerns were my appointment being canceled and what the process would be like, especially in the current climate.
Looking back, I’d say my experience was good. Very professional.
They certainly had extra safety measures in place, in addition to the regular screening there was an extra screening for COVID-19 symptoms. In the check-in line and waiting rooms everyone was advised to remain at least 2 meters apart.
The process did take a bit longer than anticipated because there were a lot of new donors and extra paperwork is involved for your first donation.
Paperwork aside, the process was completely painless—including the procedure itself. It also just makes you feel good to be helping others. For me in particular, it was also interesting to see our Donation Identification Sets in action.
Safety and comfort have always been the number one priorities for blood donation centers—they need their donors to want to come back! With the current COVID-19 pandemic, people are more concerned for their health and safety than ever before, which has resulted in a drop in donations.
Blood collection centers are asking that you please donate if you are able! They are putting in extra effort to ensure the wellness of their donors and that they leave with a good impression—and the NHSBT certainly did at their pop-up center!
Donating blood is a safe and essential activity, please take a look at this blog post if you’re interested in learning more about how COVID-19 has affected blood collection and the safety of donating during the pandemic.