Despite a call for more people across the country to donate blood and plasma this summer, supplies remain low – especially in Ontario and here in Kingston.
According to Canadian Blood Services, distribution of blood to hospitals across Canada continues to outpace the number of donations being made. In Ontario, Canadian Blood Services sends about 7,400 units of blood to hospitals in the province per week.
“So, it’s incredibly important that people donate blood – or other blood components, like plasma and platelets – to prevent patient care from being impacted,” said Dr. Katerina Pavenski, head of the Division of Transfusion Medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital-Unity Health Toronto and member of the National Advisory Committee on Blood and Blood Products.
“When a patient needs blood urgently, there is no substitute. Without it, lives are at stake.”
Blood and blood products are a critical part of daily medical care, used in major surgeries, medical procedures, cancer treatments, and the management of diseases and disorders, the national blood services agency explained. Add to this the emergency care and serious trauma cases dealt with in all of Canada’s hospitals on a daily basis, and the need for donors is obvious.
However, despite the obvious need, Canadian Blood Services finds itself under increasing demand for blood and blood products – and the only link missing in the life-saving chain is the eligible donors answering the call for help.
“As quickly as we collect blood, hospitals are calling for more. There are simply not enough people donating in Ontario to ensure patients’ needs will continue to be met long-term,” said Mark Newburgh, Director of Donor Relations and Collections for Canadian Blood Services.
Locally, blood donors in Kingston and the area help to ensure hospitals throughout Ontario receive the blood they need, and this includes the hospitals of Kingston Health Sciences Centre. Those hospitals, right here in the Limestone City, need more the 7,000 units of blood each year, according to Canadian Blood Services. In order to keep meeting those needs, 360 people are needed to donate blood in the next four weeks at the Kingston donor centre, the national lifeline agency said.
“Life can change in seconds, and you or someone you love may need blood urgently. It’s up to all of us to ensure we can save lives here at home,” Newburgh implored.
With approximately 10 million people in Ontario eligible to donate blood, just 1.5 per cent of the population do so, Canadian Blood Services shared. The eligibility criteria for donating blood is regularly updated, so the agency is reminding residents that they may be able to donate, even if they couldn’t before.
The Kingston blood donor centre is located at 850 Gardiners Road. To book an appointment to donate today, tomorrow, or in the weeks ahead, visit blood.ca, download the Give Blood app, or call 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283).
Canadian Blood Services is a not-for-profit charitable organization, which is regulated by Health Canada as a biologics manufacturer and primarily funded by the provincial and territorial ministries of health. The agency provides services for patients in blood, plasma, and stem cells on behalf of all provincial and territorial governments (apart from Quebec).