Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion, and approximately 40,000 pints of blood are used here annually to help patients in our UF Health local hospitals. One pint of donated blood can help save as many as three people’s lives. When you see a blood drive on site, please consider donating.
You can donate here on site during one of our regular events, at a LifeSouth Community Blood Center location (on Northwest 13th Street and Newberry Road) or anywhere you see a LifeSouth mobile unit or donor opportunity.
Laura Bialeck is the district community development coordinator for LifeSouth Community Blood Centers. Every unit of blood used at UF Health in Gainesville comes locally from LifeSouth.
Working in the health care setting, many of us understand the often critical need for blood and blood products. Bialeck says an average donor intake screening takes only five to 10 minutes and the whole donor process lasts only half an hour once you’re approved.
“People make time if they think it’s important,” Bialeck said. “Everyone who needs blood needs it to save their life.”
LifeSouth processes donated blood and separates it into usable components: red cells, platelets and plasma. Blood products are carefully tested for blood type and screened for infectious diseases (such as HIV, hepatitis, Zika,West Nile and other viruses). Carefully stored, the blood is then distributed to area hospitals, including ours.
According to Mary Reeves, director of the UF Health Shands Clinical Laboratories and Operations, our Gainesville hospitals use 40,000 pints of blood per year for approximately 5,700 patients receiving care here.
Blood may be required for patients who need more red blood cells due to iron deficiency, anemia or other blood disorders; have had a critical accident or injury; experience blood loss during a surgical procedure; have lost blood during childbirth; require platelets due to a disorder or treatment for disease, such as undergoing chemotherapy; or need plasma due to organ failure, severe burns or infection, for example.
“Donating blood is such a simple way to give back and give hope to our patients,” Reeves said. “I encourage everyone who is able to donate to stop by a blood drive and take just a few minutes to save lives. We appreciate everyone who takes the time to donate blood.”
A valid photo I.D. such as a driver’s license.
Age — Blood donors must be at least 17 years old (or 16 with parental permission). There is no upper limit as long as the donor is in good health and weighs at least 110 pounds. LifeSouth has previously had a 100-year-old donor.
Medications — A few medications affect a person’s eligibility to donate blood. A LifeSouth donor services technician will ask about these medications specifically prior to donation. Blood thinners, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, do not affect whole blood donations.
Diabetes — In most cases, if a person’s blood sugar has been regulated or is in a normal range, they are able to donate.
Cancer — People who have had leukemia, lymphoma and blood cell-related cancers are not able to donate. However, donation is possible by people with other types of cancer if the individual is in full remission with no other treatment scheduled.
High blood pressure — Donation is permitted unless the person’s blood pressure levels are extremely high, with 180/100 being the upper limit. Being on medication for high blood pressure is permissible.
Tattoos — People who have obtained a tattoo in a licensed tattoo parlor in Florida can donate blood.
Travel — Having traveled or lived outside the U.S. does not automatically mean you cannot donate blood. The FDA determines which international locations may pose a health risk that can impact eligibility to donate blood. For the most up-to-date information, consult a donor services technician.
Got the drive to donate?
For dates and details about upcoming blood drives, visit the Bridge Intranet (Bridge.UFHealth.org) and [Mary where is your team listing blood drive info from LifeQuest?]. You can also view Shands News weekly emails and information on the Shands News site (under the “News & Events” tab on the Bridge).