When we think about emergencies and how they impact us we tend to concentrate on many of the issues that are usually front and center regarding how to respond to them. When it comes to hurricanes, we think about boarding up our homes and putting a plan in place for where to go. If the incident involves a fire in our homes we immediately concentrate on what our temporary housing needs might be.
The same is true regarding auto accidents or something as simple as a broken bone. In calling for an ambulance and rushing a loved one to the hospital for a cardiac or stroke, our minds tend to focus on the immediate issue at hand.
The challenges that face the men and women of the Naples Community Hospital go well beyond the bounds of what we might focus on as a husband, wife or parent. Those professionals have to worry about the 375,000 residents and additional visitors on a day-to-day basis. They are concerned about all aspects associated with keeping those facilities running in case of a major storm or disaster. They also have to ensure they can keep their operating rooms running and their patients safe should disaster strike.
One of the most important items they need to keep on hand is something we seem to take for granted; the adequate supplies of human blood components. Nearly 7,000 units of platelets and 10,000 units of plasma are needed daily in the United States. Nearly 21 million blood components are transfused each year in the United States, according to the American Red Cross.
Approximately 43,000 pints of blood are used each day in the United States and Canada. Every two seconds in North America someone needs blood. Of the 37 percent of the U.S. population eligible to donate blood, only 10 percent do on an annual basis. It is estimated that one pint of blood can save three lives.
Shelia Phillips has spent over three decades working to ensure adequate supplies are available here in Collier County. She serves as a supervisor on the NCH Bloodmobile and last week was on Marco with her team to make sure they continue to stay ahead of the need here in the county.
“During our visits here during season we will collect approximately 50 pints on every visit. During the off season we collect between 30-40 pints because of the decrease in available volunteers who donate,” Phillips said. “It is always a great day when we come to Marco. The people here are so compassionate and giving.”
Local resident James Downey hit a milestone of sorts when on September 6 his total donations for his lifetime of giving hit the 32-pint mark, or four gallons of blood. He was given a certificate for that accomplishment and even brought in his sister and her husband to donate.
Local blood banks such as the NCH never know when a surge in usage may occur. This can be due to a number of reasons as well as a disruption in availability due to the inability to carry out donation drives because of incidents such as Hurricane Irma last year.
For more information regarding the NCH Blood Center and its services or call them at 239-624-4120 or visit their website at: www.nchmd.org/services/all-services/blood-center.