As published in the 7/25/16 edition of the Indianapolis Business Journal.
On Thursday, July 14, Indiana Blood Center notified the Indiana State Department of Health that our blood supply had fallen to critically low levels—less than a one-day supply of units on our shelves. It was a position no blood center ever wants to be in.
We put out the call and saw nearly 2,000 donors over the three days that followed. Thanks to those organizations that hosted blood drives with us during that time and the individual donors who visited our donor centers, the inventory of transfusion-ready units is again stable.
Our community was at risk on July 14.
The blood supply is the people’s asset. We are vulnerable—the blood supply is vulnerable—if it is top-of-mind only in a crisis. What’s more, we fail on our responsibility to our hospitals—and on our responsibility to each other–when the greatest turnout of blood donors occurs when we are in such a dire position that patients are at risk.
Success is convincing 500 Hoosiers, one donor at a time, today is a good day to step up and donate blood. Each night, that measure of success resets.
We monitor our donations in real-time and are on standby, ever ready to answer the call from a hospital that needs more units. Truly, it is a by-the-minute proposition. We must keep enough blood on the shelf that one traumatic accident or one surgery with complications isn’t a critical blow to the blood needed for another patient or another hospital.
Have I convinced you of the necessity for a stable blood supply?
I appeal to you as business and community leaders. Please, engage in our cause. You are the gateway to your organization’s greatest asset—your people. Likely, you already host blood drives. Are you personally involved? Your organization likely contributes thousands of dollars to community causes. How many units of blood do you donate?
My obligation is to make sure that the availability of blood is never a complication in the care a patient receives. Join me. Together, we will save lives.
Charlie Miraglia, M.D.
President and CEO
Indiana Blood Center