Blood bank prepares for Memorial Day<br>

On May 5, more than 100 blood components were shipped to Flagstaff Medical Center for emergency treatment of a trauma patient. The patient has required a combination of red blood cells, platelets, plasma and cryoprecipitate — all components of whole blood, said Sue Thew, marketing and communications spokesperson for UBS.

Blood donations can drop by as much as 50 percent during the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Help meet the anticipated needs of Arizona’s patients by building area blood supplies now. Since whole blood has a shelf life of 42 days, the blood donated during tomorrow’s blood drive will ensure that patients have the blood they need over the Memorial Day weekend, Thew said.

In appreciation for donating the “gift of life,” all April, May and June UBS donors will be automatically entered into a drawing to win a five-day, four-night “Discovery” houseboat holiday, courtesy of Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas. The vacation package is valued at $4,300.

Donors can increase their odds of winning the vacation package by donating more than one time through June 30. Whole blood can be donated every 56 days, plasma can be donated every 28 days and platelets can be donated every three days, said Thew.

UBS recently announced a partnership with FMC. The partnership was created to support the additional blood requirements for the new open-heart surgery program at the hospital. In less than 60 days, the new cardiac program is expected to provide a majority of the lifesaving open-heart surgeries for patients in northern Arizona. Critically ill patients, who have previously had to travel hundreds of miles for surgery, will soon receive care close to home.

According to Dr. William H. Reed, director of the open-heart program at FMC, it is estimated that each heart surgery will require two to four units of red blood cells and one to two units of platelets. Critical to the recovery of open-heart surgery patients, red blood cells carry oxygen and nutrients throughout the body and platelets provide the clotting factor that controls bleeding.

“Our open-heart program will perform the majority of surgeries using the cutting edge ‘beating heart’ technology,” said Reed. “This off-pump procedure is the latest advancement in open-heart surgery and has been shown to reduce many of the common complications of open-heart surgery.”

While the program will expand the quality of healthcare offered to northern Arizona residents, it is also expected to increase the demand for blood and blood components. Last year, northern Arizona patients treated at the FMC required 4,099 red blood cell and 410 platelet transfusions. During the same timeframe, UBS collected 2,156 blood donations from residents of Flagstaff and Williams. UBS, the provider of 100 percent of FMC’s blood needs, has asked donors to demonstrate their commitment to the community and its patients by donating more frequently in 2004.

“If every current donor would give blood just one more time, blood shortages in our state would end,” said Audrey Miccolis, executive director for UBS. “For donors who cannot commit to giving more frequently, I encourage them to bring a friend along to donate at upcoming drives.”

To schedule an appointment for tomorrow’s blood drive, contact Carol DeLander at 635-4426. For more information about donating blood, call (928) 600-3334.

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