“If you don’t pat yourself on the back, no one will.” I cannot find a record of whose quote that is, but I think there is definitely validity to this statement. Lately, I have wondered why we as blood bankers have not tooted our own horns. Why have we not congratulated or celebrated the millions of lives we saved last year?
According to Blood Centers of America (BCA), over 11 million units of blood were collected in 2016. Brook Haven National Laboratory (BNL) states that 4.5 million Americans would die each year without lifesaving blood transfusions. We know that if a blood center had not recruited, collected, processed, tested, and transported those units 4.5 million people would have died last year. That’s the entire population of Dallas, Phoenix, and San Diego combined. Now imagine if that level of population was lost each year.
I am reminding you of this because we as blood bankers have been overrun with issues surrounding a unit of blood. We have one group telling us not to transfuse the unit, another telling us it’s not profitable to transfuse, another saying lower your price, and yet another assuring us that blood is just another commodity. At the same time, we are worried about reducing overhead, negotiating another contract, being more competitive or fighting Washington. We spend a lot of time discussing over-transfusion, the newest technology, and iron depletion in our donors. These are all important discussions, but there is no mention of the good we are doing. No mention of that latest technology using our units in surgery. No mention that our units saved a nation’s leader the other day.
My fellow blood bankers, today, right now, reflect on the fact you helped save 4.5 million American’s lives last year. Blood from one human was transfused into another. It was a good unit and it was good for the patient. It saved his/her life. The role you have played in our industry made a difference in 4.5 million families’ lives. Someone’s mother, father, son, daughter, significant other is living because you made transfusion possible. This is a very good thing. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. I want to encourage every center to determine how many lives you saved last year. Make sure your staff and your local media are aware of those lives saved.
From me and from the 4.5 million others you saved last year, THANK YOU for doing what you do.
John Miller; Board Member