Lab analysts and technicians from Central Maine Healthcare (CMH), which includes Central Maine Medical Center (CMMC), Rumford Hospital and Bridgton Hospital, are urging members of the public to consider giving blood. While CMH maintains an adequate supply of blood for its patients, the region is facing severe shortages.
January is National Blood Donor Month.
The American Red Cross is experiencing an emergency blood shortage, with donations at a 20-year low. Here in Maine, about 1,500 donor appointments are currently unfilled.
Of the more than two hundred million Americans who are eligible to give blood, about six million donate.
The need for a dependable blood supply was highlighted during the Oct. 25 mass casualty event in Lewiston at CMMC. But CMH team members say the need is year-round.
“Working in the lab, I see first-hand the need for blood for our patients,” said Sandy Clark, lab analyst at CMMC. Sandy lives in Bridgton and started her lab career at Bridgton Hospital 30 years ago and donates blood regularly, herself.
“Being in the lab, you see the patient orders. At Bridgton, these are my family, my friends and my neighbors. Giving blood is a very real and very simple way that I can help take care of them,” she said.
“Our biggest concern is maintaining the supply,” said Adam Norfolk, technical lab supervisor at CMMC. Our blood supply has been maintained by a few altruistic individuals wanting to help sick people. As this cohort ages and retires, they stop donating and younger people are not donating enough to replenish the inventory.”
Anyone who wants to donate can check out the list of blood drives happening across the state and register here: Emergency Blood shortage.
Pictured: Sandy Clark confers with Nick Aripez, lab medical technologist at CMMC