WESTMINSTER - Eight million blood donors across the country, who supplied more than 12 million pints of blood to others in need last year, are being honored by President George Bush and the American Association of Blood Banks.
The president has declared January National Volunteer Blood Donor Month.
To help make sure an adequate supply of blood is available in the coming year, the AABB has joined with the Carroll County General Hospital Blood Bank and other blood banks across the country to promote the 1991 donor month theme: "We Are Counting On You To Care. Give Blood."
Because of recent publicity of techniques that allow some patients to donate their own blood and receive it back after surgery, people may feel it is no longer necessary to donate blood to the community supply.
Trudy Redding, Blood Bank supervisor at CCGH, said the need for blood is constant, and volunteer blood donors contribute at least 95 percent of the blood used in the United States.
If all those who are eligible would donate on a regular basis, blood needs would be met and shortages would be a thing of the past, said Redding. Even in today's high technology medical environment, the need for human blood continues -- no synthetics or substitutes have yet been found, she added.
In Carroll County, there is a need for 1,500 units of blood every year.
Nationally, about 4 million ill and injured patients need blood transfusions each year.
Redding said giving blood is completely safe because all equipment is used only once. Blood Bank personnel discuss with every prospective donor his or her medical history to find out whether he or she is qualified to donate. In addition, potential donors fill out a confidential questionnaire on his or her medical background.
They also perform a "mini-physical" to check whether the donor is healthy. These measures safeguard the health of the donor as well as the health of the patient who will receive the blood.
People who are interested in becoming blood donors may call the Carroll County General Hospital Blood Bank at 857-6801 to find out more.