Health professionals emphasize importance of blood donation during emergencies

One in four people will need blood in their lifetime, but what we don’t know is when it’s going to happen.
Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 7:45 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - In the wake of Monday’s mass shooting in Louisville that killed five people and injured eight others, many people might be wondering how they can help. What can they do in this time of tragedy? Health professionals say one of the best things people can do is donate blood.

According to John Hopkins University, gunshot wounds require more blood than many other trauma events.

One in four people will need blood in their lifetime, but what we don’t know is when it’s going to happen.

“blood donations is a proactive gesture,” said Eric Lindsey, the Director of Media and Branding at the Kentucky Blood Center.

Lindsey says the blood that’s already on hand is what helps during an emergency.

“We just don’t want to put our medical officials in that situation where they have to make really tough decisions,” said Lindsey. “Whatever the need is, we want to be able to provide the blood.”

Doctors at UofL Hospital, where the shooting victims were taken, said in a news conference Tuesday morning that the amount of blood they used to treat them “outstripped” the hospital’s capacity.

“We used 170 units of blood yesterday to treat these victims,” said UofL Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jason Smith.

While the Kentucky Blood Center isn’t UofL’s blood provider, Lindsey says they did reach out to see if they needed any of their blood supply. Something, he says, wouldn’t be possible without donors.

“In a trauma situation, whether it’s a car accident or, God forbid, a shooting, one patient alone can use anywhere from 50 to 100 units of blood,” said Lindsey.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lindsey says their blood supply was down, but it’s on the mend. He says a healthy blood supply means having a 3-4 day supply for their 70-plus hospitals. Right now, they have about a 2-3 day supply.

“One patient alone can real quickly take what’s a good, healthy supply and really quickly put us in that kind of urgent and critical state,” said Lindsey,

Lindsey says it’s a free and easy process that can make all the difference when tragedy strikes.

“With the way we split our blood products, you’re going to save up to three lives,” said Lindsey.

The Kentucky Blood Center has eight donor centers in six cities across the state. In Lexington, there’s one in Andover and one in Beaumont. All of the centers are open Monday through Friday from 9 to 6 and on Saturdays from 8 to 2. They accept walk-ins but encourage people to make an appointment.