Friday, 27 July 2012

Blood Transfusion

blood transfusion
As a member of the Lorne team, I keep an eye on the news to see if any blood-related stories make it onto the national stage. The talk this year has been about the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games and how these national events might affect blood donations.

The first of these events has come and gone and the figures have now been analysed. Stocks of blood fell by 7% after the Jubilee celebrations. The predicted shortfall came to pass and now all eyes have turned to the up-coming Olympic Games. In the wake of this shortfall, the NHSBT launched its annual awareness campaign, National Blood Week, in an attempt to rectify the situation.

The immediate concern in the run-up to the Olympics was the shortfall of type O negative donors. The NHSBT were expecting that demand for the ‘universal’ blood group would be 70% higher than donations. With only 7% of the UK population having type O negative blood and with only a small fraction of these being donors, the possibility of a shortfall is not hard to predict. With the holiday season upon us and an expected rise in accidents requiring an emergency blood transfusion, a lack of type O negative blood is a worrying prospect.

I recently signed up to be a blood donor. As it turned out, I was unable to donate due to a (very) minor heart condition that I had in my youth. I have never had a blood transfusion and I hope that I will never need one. For those that do need one in the coming weeks, the predicted shortage of type O negative could prove to be a real problem. For those that can donate blood, I would urge them to do so. Like many, I will be watching rather than competing in the Olympics. We may not have the opportunity to go faster, higher, stronger, but we can still achieve the satisfaction of giving the gift of life to those in need of a blood transfusion.

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