Seconds count when doctors work to save patients’ lives in the emergency room, and they often rely on blood products to help those who have experienced severe trauma. During Trauma Awareness Month in May, the American Red Cross encourages eligible donors to give blood or platelets for trauma patients and others with serious medical needs.
Emergency workers often reach for type O negative red blood cells and type AB plasma in trauma situations, where there isn’t time to determine a patient’s blood type. O negative red blood cells and AB plasma are universal and can be transfused to patients with any blood type. One person involved in a car accident can need as many as 100 units of blood.
BATTLE OF THE BADGES NATIONAL CHALLENGE
First responders know how important it is to have blood readily available for emergencies. In May and June, many police, fire and emergency medical services personnel are teaming up with the Red Cross to help ensure blood is on the shelves before it is needed through the Battle of the Badges National Challenge.
Battle of the Badges is a friendly competition among first responder agencies to see who can recruit the most eligible blood donors to donate in the neighborhoods they serve. These blood drives are taking place in hundreds of communities across the country. Donors at these drives can help save lives, while deciding which first responder agency wins Battle of the Badges bragging rights. These agencies will also have the chance for a spot on the nationwide leaderboard and could be crowned the winner of the best Battle of the Badges blood drive in the country.
WHEN FIRST RESPONDERS BECOME PATIENTS IN NEED
Deputy Mike Hutchinson has made a career out of helping others. Even after suffering traumatic injuries on the job, he’s turned his focus to his community.
In 2015, Hutchinson was shot four times while serving an arrest warrant in Big Springs, Nebraska. The veteran officer and father received several units of blood while doctors worked to save his life. Today, Hutchinson wants to ensure blood is available for other patients when they need it and encourages eligible donors to roll up a sleeve and give the gift of life.
“I am happy I am alive to give back to the area communities in hopes that this will benefit more than just one person,” said Hutchinson. “Thanks, American Red Cross, for this opportunity to help.”
MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO DONATE BLOOD OR PLATELETS
To make an appointment to donate and help patients in need alongside our first responders, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.