Hospital staff sat in the chairs at the Sanford Health Blood donation room Thursday. While they don’t take an oath to give blood, they do see it as part of their duty.
“When we have slower days we tend to do things or we'll check and see if they're slow down here and we'll give blood,” surgical technical Chelsey Reker said.
It's a year-round pledge, but this time of year it has special importance. Blood donations drop because cold and flu rise, keeping donors who would typically sit in the donor chairs at home.
“They'll come in and they'll have a sore throat or they'll be all stuffed up, but they're feeling a little better. But we want to make sure they are well and the infection is gone,” Rita Nelson with the Community Blood Bank said.
That's why Nelson says the Community Blood Bank will send you away if you try to donate too early following a cold or flu.
Blood donation levels have dipped by about 15 percent this month but demand always stays the same.
“You always have to think of the patient using blood. We have cancer patients, surgeries, car accidents happen every day. And we need the blood here available for the next trauma that's going to come in,” Nelson said.
The blood bank gives out 550 units every week at health systems from the Missouri River to Minnesota. Nelson said she also tries to raise donation numbers this time of year.
“We try. We have a lot of different blood drives and we'll do little promotions with T-Shirts and try to entice people to come in. And if you're on the fence trying to decide this is a good time to come out and help our local patients save a life,” Nelson said.
And sometimes that means counting on donations from ordinary patients or the practitioners they see every day.
“It just makes you feel good that you're giving something to someone who is in need,” Reker said.
The blood bank has two blood mobiles that make the rounds across KELOLAND. You can also drop by blood donation rooms at both Avera and Sanford hospitals.