Blood For Christmas

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Christmas may be a time for giving, but that's not necessarily the case with blood donations. Blood collected by the Red Cross is used to supply hospitals around the country, including local ones like St. Joseph Regional Health Center.

Barbara Murello is a technical specialist in St. Joseph blood bank and says they have been tracking the number of blood units they have on hand.

Murello said, "The very first thing as we change shift is whoever coming in to relieve the person in the blood bank would say, 'how's the blood supply?'"

According to Murello, the blood bank's supply typically drops off around the Thanksgiving holiday,s and the scarcity continues into the early part of the new year. To understand just how much blood they can go through, during a normal month, St. Joseph can use 650 units of blood. The key word is normal.

Outside of common illnesses that affect people around this time, Murello says the schedules of regular and potential donors can keep them from making their usual gift.

"During the Christmas time, it's very very hard," Murello said. "People have gotten vacations, people are very busy."

But those in need of blood don't have the luxury of time. She says accident and cancer patients don't have the option to wait.

In order for the blood bank at St. Joseph to be considered fully stocked, Murello says they need to have well over 200 units. Officials at St. Joseph want all of their patients to be assured they are capable handling all of their emergencies, but more blood donations would help ease their minds during the holidays.