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Arkansas Methodist Medical Center aims to keep shelves stocked with Red Cross blood drive

Greater Ozarks-Arkansas

April 2, 2014
 

PARAGOULD, Ark. — Arkansas Methodist Medical Center blood bank supervisor Lee Sisk has spent the past seven years seeing to it that blood delivered from the American Red Cross reaches the hospital’s patients. In April, the community can help ensure the supply is sufficient during the hospital’s Red Cross blood drive.

“We transfuse an average of 100 units of packed red blood cells a month,” Sisk said. “In a given week, we may transfuse five to six units every day.”

A donor herself, Sisk recently earned her two-gallon blood donor pin from the Red Cross. She encourages others to give blood so that it’s available to patients whenever it is needed, citing 35 years of experience as a medical technologist to back her up on how big a difference donations make.

“When we have needed an in-demand blood type like O negative, it’s not always on hand here at the hospital,” Sisk said. “But thanks to donors who continue to give, all over the country, the Red Cross has been able to meet those needs quickly with blood donations locally or in its national inventory.”

It’s the blood already on the shelves that helps when there is an immediate need. While the gratification from donating is instant, the process of getting the blood to the patient takes approximately three days due to testing to make sure the unit is as safe as possible.

Upcoming Arkansas Methodist Medical Center blood drive:

April 10 from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Arkansas Methodist Medical Center, 900 W. Kingshighway, in Paragould.

“I know that there are several patients here that live another day because they received the blood that they needed,” Sisk said. “Even here in our community, someone needs blood or a blood product like plasma or platelets every day.  It may not be your family member or one of your close friends today ― but it could be tomorrow.”

Under normal circumstances, someone in the U.S. needs a transfusion every two seconds. The Red Cross must collect about 15,000 donations a day to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide.

How to donate blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in Arkansas), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

About Arkansas Methodist Medical Center

A recognized leader, Arkansas Methodist Medical Center in Paragould provides progressive, compassionate healthcare to residents throughout Northeast Arkansas and Southeast Missouri. Additional information about AMMC is available at: www.myammc.org.