St. Lawrence Health

A Few Moments of Your Time Could Save a Life

Blood donated throughout our communities assists in stocking the local hospitals’ blood banks first.

Jan. 12, 2023 4   min read

POTSDAM, NY – Many people often voice how they would like to do something for their community, but they just do not have a lot of spare time. Consider this: it takes approximately 10 minutes to donate one pint of blood.

January is National Blood Donor Month, and St. Lawrence Health/Gouverneur Hospital will be sponsoring a blood drive on Friday, January 20, 2023 from 11:30am to 4:30pm at the Gouverneur Community Center, 4673 State Route 58, Gouverneur.

The blood donated throughout our communities assists in stocking the local hospitals’ blood banks first.

Canton-Potsdam Hospital Critical Care Unit Nursing Director Jennifer Moore, RN, CCRN, pointed out giving blood is an important and much-needed donation.

“Almost everyone knows of at least one person who has needed blood administered in an emergent situation,” she said. “There is always a need, yet we are in a constant state of shortage. Blood cannot be manufactured, so it is vital to have our local community members donate if and when they are able.” 

While O-negative blood can be given to anyone when the need arises, all blood types are important for hospitals to have on hand.

“We use O-negative blood for emergency situations when a patient's blood type is unknown. It is the safest to use since it has no special proteins to trigger an allergic reaction in someone who has a different blood type. Since O-negative blood is used so often, we are in constant short supply,” Ms. Moore said.

“We administer O-negative blood in emergent situations until we can identify a person's blood type. Once identified, it is imperative we administer their own blood type, so we may continue to have O-negative for the next emergency that occurs,” she continued.

Whether due to an unexpected situation or during surgery, patients can be assured the blood they are receiving is safe. Individuals who donate blood are screened in two ways.

“Each person who wants to give blood must answer a questionnaire before donating, and after the donation it is sent for testing of infectious diseases. Both of these processes are completed prior to the donated blood ever reaching the blood banks or the patient,” Ms. Moore said.

She pointed out that many people may not realize how far their donation of just one pint may go. Hospital personnel are able to use whole blood (red blood cells), white blood cells, platelets, and plasma.

St. Lawrence Health sponsored 16 blood drives during 2022 with locations in Gouverneur, Massena and Potsdam. A total of 339 donors were involved, for a collection of 347 pints that had the potential of saving 1,041 lives.

Learn about upcoming blood drives sponsored by St. Lawrence Health.