‘Be a healthcare hero’: How your blood donation can help save lives

BOLIVIA, NC (WWAY) — The American Red Cross is calling on the Cape Fear and the entire nation to donate blood as the severe blood shortage continues.

One hour of your time can result in three lives saved after donating blood and it’s turned into various blood products. One entity distributing those products and helping save lives is AirLink/VitaLink, New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s Critical Care Transport Team.

The teams respond to extreme trauma cases and perform eight to ten blood transfusions per month.

“We deal with a population of patients that require blood products to resuscitate them, to prevent them from dying or prevent unnecessary use or overuse in a hospital setting,” Program Manager and Chief Transport Nurse Kevin Hodge said.

The program has carried blood products for about three and a half years. Hodge says before they were able to stabilize patients in other ways, but the ability to quickly get patients the blood products they need has helped reduce mortality and positively impacted the patient’s lives.

“They now are at home with their families, they now are back out into the community, they’re working at their jobs, they’re actually living a quality of life,” Hodge said. “I don’t know if that would have been the case if they hadn’t had the blood product, but I can tell you that it made a significant difference in their turnaround and their discharge time.”

Hodge says he pursued nursing to make a difference in people’s lives and he’s seen time and time again the Cape Fear community shares the same passion, so how can they help now? By giving the gift of life through donating blood.

“This is really an opportunity for everyone to step up and say, I can be a healthcare hero,” Hodge said. “I can really give up myself to make a difference in somebody else’s life and it doesn’t cost you a thing.”

Cape Fear Area Red Cross Executive Director James Jarvis says only three percent of the population donates blood.

“This is allowing someone to put a needle in your arm, so I know that’s the most intimate thing we can ask you to do but ultimately it’s going to save lives and people are counting on you,” Jarvis said.

AirLink/VitaLink regularly hosts blood drives with the Red Cross, so far they have collected enough blood products to help 1,800 patients. Their 20th blood drive on Friday, June 25 at the Elks Lodge on Oleander Drive in Wilmington from 10 am – 3 pm.

To make an appointment, visit here and enter the sponsor code “AirLink.” Walk-ins are welcome as well.

Categories: Brunswick, Local, New Hanover, Top Stories

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