|June 13 2013
Red Cross blood-draw in St. Ignatius exceeds expectations
By B.L. Azure
T.J. Wehner of the Kalispell Red Cross center discusses the blood drawing procedure with Samantha Morigeau, who was one of 23 donors at the recent THHS/Red Cross blood drive. (B.L. Azure photo)
ST. IGNATIUS — A person never knows when they might need a blood transfusion. If they do it’s a relatively safe bet that there is ample amounts of their blood type at their area hospitals. But it is not a sure bet since blood has a short shelf life, and national and local emergency needs can sap the blood supply. That in turn could have hospitals and Red Cross emergency responders scrambling to fill the void. That is why blood draws are so important. They can literally result in the saving of lives.
In attempt to stock the shelves of the much needed life-saving blood, the Red Cross in conjunction with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Tribal Health and Human Services Department held a blood draw recently at the St. Ignatius THHS fitness center.
Margene Asay, THHS fitness centers program manager and health educator, said 28 people turned out for the annual blood drawing and 23 were able to donate a pint of blood.
“We had five new people donate blood this year and any time we can get new people, more people involved the better it is for people out there that need a blood transfusion,” Asay said. “We had our goal set at 20 people and we beat it. Isn’t that awesome?”
Asay explained that five of the 28 people didn’t pass the pre-screening assessment for an assortment of reasons that might have to do with having a tattoo in the last year, taking of some prescription medications, anemia, or high temperatures. She emphasized that she was speculating using the common reasons that usually pop up in the initial pre-screening process.
The Red Cross dispatched five people to the blood draw: two from the Missoula Red Cross center and three from the Kalispell Red Cross center.
T.J. Wehner of the Kalispell Red Cross center said the Missoula center usually handles the St. Ignatius blood draw but they were dispatched to Hamilton for a blood draw at Marcus Daly Hospital. Consequently the St. Ignatius blood draw was a concerted effort amongst the two centers as well as Tribal Health.
There are five Red Cross centers in Montana, including Missoula, Kalispell, Bozeman, Helena and Great Falls, which is the site of the Red Cross laboratory.
After passing the initial field test drawn blood is sent to Great Falls for further testing then the blood that is certified is then sent to the Red Cross Hospital Services program that in turn allocates it to requesting Montana hospitals. Blood in excess of the state needs is made available to the national Red Cross for large emergency-situation needs.