Be Impulsive, Save a Life!

Every 2 seconds someone in the U.S. needs a transfusion of donated blood.

One in 7 people entering the hospital needs a blood transfusion.

Those statistics should be shocking for many. Not for me. As a labor & delivery nurse at a high volume hospital that services high acuity patients with complex medical presentations and histories, we are always on alert for shock, abruption and/or hemorrhage. Have I seen the need for blood and what it can do? Sadly yes. I will never forget a first-time mother, about to go on a road trip before her baby was born, but had a bit of bleeding that she thought was concerning enough to check before she left.

As a labor & delivery nurse at a high volume hospital that services high acuity patients with complex medical presentations and histories, we are always on alert for shock, abruption and/or hemorrhage. Have I seen the need for blood and what it can do? Sadly yes. I will never forget a first-time mother, about to go on a road trip before her baby was born, but had a bit of bleeding that she thought was concerning enough to check before she left.

I will never forget my encounter with a first-time mother, who was about to go on a road trip before her baby was born but had a bit of bleeding that she thought was concerning enough to check before she left. I still remember clear as day, as she got up to go to the bathroom, what looked like gallons of blood was pouring out of her, and I caught her before she fell as assistance came from every direction. We were all rushing and knowing we only have minutes to save both her and her baby’s life. There was so much blood and I cried. I cried because I was scared for her and her baby. Without much more detail, she needed multiple liters of blood to replenish what she had lost. Her baby needed blood too. They both were very lucky, but it wasn’t luck that saved them. It was the generous blood donations that they received that saved her and her baby’s life. A single blood donation has the potential to help up to 3 patients like mine. Blood can be donated every 56 days, up to six times a year! I cannot imagine what thoughts ran through her head as she held her happy, healthy newborn baby for the very first time. What could have been had she not taken the time to check in with her doctor. Although we typically see blood drives around major disasters, there is always a need for blood. Patients being treated for cancer, undergoing organ and marrow transplants, patients with inherited blood disorders, undergoing cardiovascular surgeries and even orthopedic surgeries, all need blood.  You can help blood centers be at the ready by making sure blood is available before it’s needed. In addition to donating blood, you can donate:

  • PLATELETS, which help treat cancer and other patients. They only have a shelf life of five days, so platelet donations are always needed.
  • PLASMA, which has the same life-saving effect and is in even greater need because it contains important proteins and nutrients which help treat severe burns, traumas, blood clotting disorders, organ transplants and premature infants like my patient’s baby.

What happens to you after donation? Your body replaces it! Plasma donation is replaced in approximately about 24 hours. Red cells are replaced in about four to six weeks. That’s why at least 56 days are required between whole blood donations.

How can YOU get involved? Find out at BeImpulsiveRSVP.com. #BeImpulsive and visit our local New Jersey/New York – Community Blood Services on Facebook: Community Blood Services or Twitter @cbsblood and find out where you can BE IMPULSIVE and Save a Life!