UBS Anticipates Higher Demand

By: Jessica Dealy Email
By: Jessica Dealy Email

Even with a bad economy, AAA says travel should be higher for Memorial Day weekend than it was during this same time in 2009.

And when more vehicles are on the road, there is a higher probability that crashes will occur.

United Blood Services is trying to increase the local blood supply to be ready for the expected higher demand.

The long Memorial Day weekend means people will likely be out on the roads and out on the water. Those activities usually mean less people will be thinking of donating blood and more people are likely to be injured.

"In our service area, Mississippi and west Alabama, we service 67 hospitals and every day we count on 250 blood donors just to meet our patients needs," said Katie Swinney,UBS donor recruitment representative. "On those weekends where you don't have as many coming in on the holiday, we have an increased need. Your supply usually does get a little bit strained."

"One of our largest concerns is that we have enough platelets available and also our negative type blood," said J.W. Chapman, UBS director of center operations. "You see this is our platelet incubator, and right now, we only have three platelets on the incubator."

Platelets are already rarely donated and are needed to help the body stop bleeding. Hospital personnel expect a rise in trauma patients will increase the need for platelet donations.

"Typically, on a holiday weekend you don't have elective stuff going on. Most of the time it is an emergency," said Tracy Duckworth, blood bank supervisor at Rush Hospital. "That is why we need to have our shelves stocked with blood. People, if they are out and about, if they can go and donate blood, that would be great. Right now we are having a hard time getting platelets."

While platelets are greatly needed, all other blood donations are strongly encouraged as well.

United Blood Services in Meridian will be giving away several gifts to all weekend donors.

UBS will have a blood drive Friday, offering a free lunch from Chick-fil-A as an incentive. That applies for anyone who donates at the donation center at Bonita Lakes Crossing Shopping Center or the Bonita Wal-Mart in Meridian.

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