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Blood need in Gainesville area constant

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According to the American Red Cross website, more than 44,000 blood donations are needed every day — every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.

In Gainesville, because of a large hospital, Shands, the need for blood is constant. Trauma patients need copious amounts of blood in addition to the daily surgeries performed at Shands, where blood is always needed.

Gary Kirkland, of LifeSouth Community Blood Centers, said he has talked to a woman who needed 52 units of blood in less than 24 hours after a trauma situation. Fifty-two units of blood takes 52 donors.

“One serious accident can really impact the blood supply,” he said. “Now, we try to plan for all emergencies.”

Kirkland said many people think donating when there has been an accident is good enough.

However, blood takes up to three days to get to hospital shelves and the blood for trauma victims is needed instantly.

He said blood donation is used for much more than just trauma.

“People often associate the need for blood for trauma or a car accident,” he said. “In reality, it’s the cancer patients who need blood. There are lots of reasons other than trauma that people need blood.”

Shands is a major cancer center in Florida, he said. So the need for blood is extremely pressing at all times.

Jennifer Sealey, also of LifeSouth, gives platelets every two weeks and donates blood whenever she is eligible. The process, she said, takes only 10 to 15 minutes and each donation can save three lives.

The average adult has about 10 pints of blood in his or her body and roughly one pint is given during donation, according to the Red Cross.

Sealey also encourages Gainesville locals to donate whenever possible because of the nearby hospital.

“The need is always there,” she said. “There’s always an emergency.”

Kelsey Meany wrote this story online. 

About Ethan Magoc

Ethan is a journalist at WUFT News. He's a Pennsylvania native who found a home reporting Florida's stories. Reach him by emailing emagoc@wuft.org or calling 352-294-1525.

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