I got a call from a friend late Friday afternoon that we had a blood emergency on our hands. One of their dear friends had gone into liver failure, had been flown to Belize Health Care Partners hospital in Belize City and was in need of 5 pints of blood asap. He wanted to know what to do – how could they get her blood? If need be, he was ready to find five people to head to the city to donate.
I assured him that we had at least 80 pints in our reserve and, since she was an island resident, she was eligible for some of that blood. After getting her details down, I immediately got on the phone and started calling all of our board members who were eligible to sign off on blood. None of them were at their desk to do the paperwork and one did not answer their phone. I quickly sent out an email with all of the info so that the paperwork could be done by the first person who got to the form. Up till now all our blood requests had been in advance for planned surgeries and not an emergency so this was a good but intense learning experience for everyone.
Within minutes of sending the email, Shirlee, our secretary (who happened to be at Atlanta airport on her way to New Orleans for the weekend), popped me in gchat and guided me forward for to make it happen.
I tried the number Shirlee gave me for the blood bank, but got an odd message on the phone. Google to the rescue – I immediately called Karl Heusner to patch me through to Belize Blood Services, found out they close at 3 p.m. on Fridays and were not going to be open Monday. We had to come up with a Plan B fast! Shirlee was about to board a plane, we both knew this was urgent and Monday was not an option – 5 pints is a lot of blood to require. Shirlee found Miguel from the Cancer Society’s number and I called him and explained I was with San Pedro Red Cross and we had a major emergency on our hands and Miguel was able to hook me up with Nurse Doreen in Belize City. She answered right away and assured me she would be able to help and sure enough she got 5 pints of our supply released that night.
Unfortunately the patient is still in critical condition. We are all sending out positive thoughts that she takes a turn for the better. Her husband and his friends were very appreciative of the help they were able to get from the San Pedro Red Cross and grateful they did not have to find 5 people to fly over to Belize City to donate Friday Afternoon.
You Can Help by Donating Blood
“What if someone you loved needed blood, and it wasn’t there?”
San Pedro Belize Red Cross is working hard to increase our blood supply for locals and tourists of Ambergris Caye. Join the San Pedro Red Cross, Cancer Society and the Belize Blood Bank for our blood drive Saturday, November 8 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at San Carlos Medical on Middle Street. The blood drive is sponsored by DigiCell and Tropic Air.
Donating blood is a simple process that can save lives. When preparing for donating blood, think Red:
- Rest and get a good nights sleep.
- Eat a good breakfast with foods high in iron.
- Drink plenty of healthy fluids starting the day before you donate.
Following a short screening process, the donation itself is only about 8-10 minutes on average. A single unit of blood (475 mL or 1 pint) taken during a donation which is about 8-10% of the total in your system. Your body keeps on replenishing blood all the time whether you give blood or not, so this amount is quickly replaced.
After you donate, the blood is then delivered to Belize City by Blood Services and equally allocated there for use by Ambergris Caye.
Interesting Blood Facts
Five percent of hospitalized patients require blood with the average person requiring about three pints.
Four main red blood cell types: A, B, AB and O. Each can be positive or negative for the Rh factor. AB is the universal recipient; O negative is the universal donor of red blood cells.
Whole blood is made of several components that can be transfused separately or together to treat various conditions:
- Red blood cells carry oxygen to tissues and remove carbon dioxide through the lungs.
- White blood cells protect the body from infection. (They also, however, can carry viruses and bacteria—which is why they are removed from donated blood.)
- Platelets provide the basis for clotting, which helps control bleeding.
- Plasma is a liquid containing proteins that help fight infection and assist clotting. Plasma distributes nutrients to tissues and transports waste products to the lungs, liver and kidneys.
Please help us reach our goal of 100 pints, your gift of blood can save a life.
San Pedro Red Cross would like to thank the following businesses for helping make this commercial possible.
Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II
Tropic Air Belize
Banana Beach Resort
San Pedro Red Cross would like to thank the following people for helping make this commercial.
Horacio Louis Guerrero
Josh Daniel Nunez
Make Belize Films
Alex Gilroy Nicholas
Nurses at the Poly Clinic