BANGOR, Maine — St. Joseph Hospital recently stepped up to be a Red Cross Distribution Center. St. Joseph Hospital collaborated with the Red Cross to ensure the community’s continued to be met when the area’s tertiary care hospital stopped providing this service.
Many other area hospitals including Inland Hospital, Mayo Regional, Penobscot Valley and Millinocket Regional Hospital, still rely on the Red Cross for blood and blood products. To fill this need, St. Joseph Hospital and the Red Cross were able to work together quickly to make sure service was not interrupted.
St. Joseph Hospital Laboratory technicians were trained on their new responsibilities and staff is available 24/7 to meet the area’s needs.
“Everyone in the lab recognizes our responsibility to provide neighboring hospitals with life saving blood products,” says Toni Ouellette-Dupuis, Tissue & Transfusion Service Manager/Educational Coordinator, in a hospital press release. “St. Joseph Hospital is glad that we were able to help the American Red Cross when the call came, and in turn provide this needed service to our neighboring hospitals.”
The Red Cross Blood Center is reliant on Mainers helping Mainers. “Currently there is a shortage of RH negative red cells. In order for St. Joseph Hospital to receive O negative and A negative red cells from the Red Cross, we need everyone who can to please donate,” says Ouellette-Dupuis.
Since 1970, January has been declared National Volunteer Blood Donor Month, and with good reason. Above all other times of the year, it’s the month that presents the most challenges in recruiting people to give blood.
Weather conditions, busy holiday schedules, increased cold and flu symptoms are just a few reasons that can keep the most dedicated blood donors from making or keeping an appointment to give. Yet winter weather can lead to more traumatic injuries and may increase the need for blood.