© Guardian photo by Heather Taweel
Tanya Herrell, right, phlebotomist, prepares Faye Larkin for a donation at the Canadian Blood Services office in Charlottetown.
Canadian Blood Services says nearly 200 appointments empty between now and July 5
Canadian Blood Services clinic on Fitzroy Street in Charlottetown is only 18 per cent booked for July 1. 30,000 appointments are necessary every week across Canada to meet demand for blood and blood products. In recent months across Canada, about 20 per cent of donors have missed their appointments. Platelets, part of blood that helps with clotting, are of particular concern around long weekends because they have a shelf-life of just five days before they expire.
Canadian Blood Services hopes to see red over the Canada Day weekend.
The organization is appealing to Islanders for donations.
Peter MacDonald, director of donor relations in Atlantic Canada, said Thursday appointments at the Charlottetown clinic on Fitzroy Street are only 18 per cent booked.
“Between (Thursday) and July 5 we have 195 empty appointments in Charlottetown,’’ MacDonald said.
“Usually we are quite successful and the community is strong and rallies together in Charlottetown.’’
Canadian Blood Services needs 30,000 appointments every week across the country to meet demand from hospitals.
The Charlottetown clinic is open Monday to Wednesday and on Friday for whole blood donations and will be running special hours on July 1 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. but the phone hasn’t exactly been ringing with donors.
“There is lots of room. Our target is to collect 32 units on that particular day,’’ he said,
referring to the Charlottetown clinic.
“Hospitals won’t take the long weekend off regardless of where July 1 falls and we need to ensure that we meet demand for hospital patients.’’
He explained that donated blood isn’t just used by hospitals in emergency situations. A cancer patient, for example, would use on average blood from eight separate donors on a weekly basis. Patients who have had liver transplants require blood.
Trauma centres use up to 50 units of blood from 50 different donors.
“Certainly there will be lots of folks on the road (this weekend) and that demand will be there. Demand is ongoing. One in two Canadians will know someone in their lifetime who will need blood.’’
To book an appointment, download the GiveBlood app, visit www.blood.ca or call 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283).