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Saint Alphonsus hospital workers help with critically-low blood shortage

Posted at 4:06 PM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 10:45:41-04

BOISE, Idaho — To respond to the critically-low blood supply currently in Idaho and across the country, Saint Alphonsus hospital workers in both Boise and Nampa Tuesday held the first of two blood drives.

The American Red Cross reports that, due to the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, public blood drives have been canceled and people are no longer donating in person at the Red Cross. The drives are essential to restocking the nation’s blood banks.

“This has been absolutely amazing. I started out advocating on social media to my friend circle, and it’s expanded to floor units in the hospital competing over who can donate the most blood,” said Dr. Britani Hill, a Trauma Surgeon at Saint Alphonsus -- and the organizer of the blood drive. “These are the people on the front lines, preparing in the calm before the storm to take care of the community. While we still have blood available in the hospital and blood banks, we will be facing a critical shortage in the future.”

In Idaho, more than eighty blood drives have been canceled, resulting in the loss of more than 2,200 units of blood products that would have been collected during the efforts. Hill said it is safe to donate blood, even with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and donating does not diminish a person’s immune system.

Noreen Bevington, a Register Nurse in the Saint Alphonsus NICU, were among those who donated blood Tuesday. “It’s very critical, because people can’t get out in the community to donate. It’s fast and easy to donate, and I feel like I’m contributing and helping out, keeping our blood supplies up,” she said.

Dr. George Munayirji is a Trauma Surgeon at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center -- and a regular blood donor. He said he answered the call because, “This is the least you can do for the community, especially under the circumstances. As a trauma surgeon, I know that the blood supply is extremely short, including blood and platelets. I urge any healthy individual to come and donate.”

Saint Alphonsus will hold another colleague-only blood drive on Thursday to help replenish the supplies at the Red Cross.

(photo courtesy Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center)