In recognition of National Blood Donor Month, healthcare professionals at Parkland Health are stepping up to address the critical need for blood donations, emphasizing the life-saving impact of this simple yet powerful act of compassion.
Sudarshan (Shawn) Pathak, BSN, RN, OCN, an associate nursing manager at Parkland Health, has donated over two gallons of blood in the last seven years. He emphasizes the importance of blood donation, stating, "Only 3% of the eligible population donate blood, and that's why I'm making a small effort to help people in need in our community."
Sheila DePaola, MSN, RN, a nursing operations specialist with 38 years of experience at Parkland, echoes this sentiment. Having donated more than four gallons of blood, DePaola sees blood donation as a gift of life, crucial for treating patients in the hospital.
January poses a unique challenge for blood centers nationwide, experiencing a decrease in collections during winter due to illness and weather-related incidents. At Parkland Memorial Hospital, the demand for blood extends beyond trauma care, impacting patients with conditions like chronic gastrointestinal bleeding or sickle cell disease.
High schools play a crucial role in blood drives, contributing up to 20% to annual collections. However, when schools are not in session, collection centers face challenges. This situation underscores the importance of individual donations during National Blood Donor Month.
Parkland, one of the largest users of blood products in the area, utilized 27,327 units of transfused blood products in FY 23. Red blood cells accounted for 76% of these units, with platelets, cryoprecipitate, and plasma making up the remainder.
Limiaa Khalifa, in Parkland's Transfusion Services Department, emphasizes the critical need for O-negative and AB plasma, considered universal donors. These blood types are crucial for immediate transfusions before obtaining a patient's specific blood type.
Kelly Murphy, Magnet Program manager at Parkland, stresses the personal impact of blood donation, having administered hundreds of units during her nearly 20-year nursing career. She encourages everyone to donate, emphasizing that a simple donation can help save lives.
As National Blood Donor Month continues, healthcare professionals at Parkland Health hope to inspire more individuals to contribute to the life-saving supply of blood, ensuring that patients in need receive timely and essential transfusions.