A child whose blood isn't clotting can easily go through 28 units of blood in a week. Even a child who weighs only 30 pounds.
And an adult who has been in a serious car wreck can use even more, according to Julie Henderson, director of the University Hospital's Blood Donor/Apheresis Center.The University of Utah Health Sciences Center joined other agencies along the Wasatch Front in issuing a plea for blood donations. The supply is dangerously low.
"It's always a concern this time of year," said Henderson. "But the situation right now is more urgent than those we have had in recent summers."
In summer, it's more difficult to recruit donations. People are on vacation. But that's also the time of year when more accidents occur. While folks are out playing, injuries seem to increase. And it's a problem across the country, she said.
"What we find during the summer months is that needs increase. People are outdoors recreating more. There are more accidents, traumas. And donors are not as accessible as they normally would be."
One of the primary local sources of blood donations is high school blood drives. But those don't occur in the summer, she said, further impacting the blood supply.
And let's not forget the upcoming Labor Day Weekend, which typically includes accidents and injuries.
The blood type in shortest supply is O-negative. That's the "universal donor" and is used in emergencies when the medical staff hasn't had time yet to type blood and must get someone transfused immediately.
All blood types are needed, Henderson said.
The University Hospital isn't alone in seeking blood donations. When the U. collects blood, it first provides for its own patients and those at Primary Children's Medical Center. The American Red Cross collects and distributes blood throughout the area, including Primary. Other hospitals also collect blood, including Columbia Ogden Regional and Mountain View in Payson. Call your local hospital to find out about donating blood.
University Hospital collects blood Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and until 4 p.m. on weekends and holidays. Several blood drives are scheduled in the next week:
Sunday, Aug. 30, Rowland Hall School, 843 Lincoln St. (950 East), 2 to 7 p.m.; Tuesday, Sept. 1, Jewish Community Center at the Fort, formerly the Ft. Douglas Country Club, 2 Medical Dr., 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Wednesday, Sept. 2, Summit Health Center, 1750 W. Sun Peak Dr., Park City, 3 to 8 p.m.
The American Red Cross can be reached at 1-800-448-3543. Columbia Ogden Regional is 479-2389.