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Midstate hospitals squeezed for blood donations - abc27 WHTM

Midstate hospitals squeezed for blood donations

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LEBANON, Pa. (WHTM) -

More than 41,000 blood donations are needed every day. Although an estimated 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood, less than 10 percent actually do. Midstate hospitals need more eligible people to donate blood, because they are running low.

"Three, four weeks ago was Christmas and New Year's. People were not thinking about coming out and donating blood at that time, so as a result weeks down the road you tend to be short," said Dr. Peter Phillips, Jr., Medical Director at the blood donation center.

The process can be intimidating, especially for those who do not like needles, but doctors say that should not draw you away.

"The people who are actually using the needles and drawing the blood are excellent phlebotomists. They usually get picked because they were excellent on the hospital floors," said Phillips.

If you are concerned about time, doctors say you do not need to be because the process takes about half an hour.

"I'm doing this on my lunch," said Rebecca Waltz, who works in Lebanon. "It's something I can do to help other people that's easy for me to do."

In fact, each time you donate, you are helping several people.

"Three people, because each unity of blood can be separated into three components: red blood cells, platelets and plasma," said Melissa Stuckey, who supervises the blood donation center.

There is something unique about donating blood at the Good Samaritan Health System.

"When you donate blood to the Good Samaritan Health System, all blood stays at the Good Samaritan Health System. So if your neighbor got admitted and they're bleeding, it's possible they could receive your donation," Stuckey said.

"One of the things that I'm really proud of our donor center is that it's truly a case of neighbors helping neighbors," said Phillips.

For more information about donating blood at the Good Samaritan Health System, visit http://www.gshleb.org/Main/Locations.aspx?taxonomy=BloodDonation and http://www.gshleb.org/Main/Locations/1.aspx.

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