Did you know? A Few Facts about Blood Usage

September 30, 2011 at 8:00 am

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By Julie Ruel, Social Media Manager, Stanford Blood Center

About every two seconds somebody in the U.S. needs blood. An estimated 38% of the population is eligible to give blood at any given time but less than 10% actually do. So blood centers must work hard to keep a constant supply on their shelves and ready to go. And as you know, we all rely on the support of generous volunteer donors. At Stanford Blood Center (SBC) specifically, we provide blood only to local hospitals and depend on the busy Bay Area folks (of which just 3% are active blood donors) to keep our inventory healthy. “At SBC, we are acutely aware of how critical our donors are. We work hard to make sure they feel appreciated by providing excellent customer service and recognizing each donor’s contribution,” acknowledges Jamie Boseman, collections manager at SBC.

In total, we ship about 1,000 units of red blood cells (RBCs) and 250 units of platelets out the door each week. Incidentally, 80% of the blood products we collect are sent to Stanford Hospital and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (LPCH), operations that are globally recognized for the specialized and complicated programs available to their patients. They are our biggest customers, both in terms of volume and complexity of products required for these programs.

Here are some examples of how blood products provided by our donors are put to use:

• Liver transplant patients require an average of:

40 units of RBCs

6 units of platelets

• Some cancer patients will use:

1-2 units of RBCs per week

2 units of platelets per week

• Heart surgery patients can use up to:

10 units of RBCs

1-2 units of platelets

• Motor vehicle accident victims use an average of:

50 units of RBCs

Since you began reading this, about 200 people in the U.S. have needed blood. If you’re a part of the elite 3% in this area that make these life-saving transfusions possible, take an opportunity to do something nice for yourself. You deserve it!