VERIFY: If I donate blood in the DMV can it help victims in Las Vegas?

Can blood donated in one place--like Maryland, Virginia or the District of Columbia--be sent to hospitals in another state?

QUESTION:

Can blood donated in one place--like Maryland, Virginia or the District of Columbia--be sent to hospitals in another state?

ANSWER:

Yes, the American Red Cross just did that for Las Vegas hospitals.

SOURCES:

Regina Boothe Bratton- Director of Communications- American Red Cross in the National Capital Region Headquarters 

Mitzy Hill Edgecomb- Vice President, Donor Marketing and Communication- Blood Systems, Inc.

Gretchen Papez- Spokesperson- Spring Valley Hospital Medical Center 

Amy Doane- Vice President of Development- Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center

PROCESS:

The most urgent and life-altering donation anyone can make during a calamity, is the gift of blood. On Sunday night, the country witnessed the deadliest mass shooting in recent history with hundreds in need of life-sustaining blood. 

But can blood donations in the District, Maryland or Virginia help victims in Las Vegas?

Yes, says Regina Boothe Bratton, Communications Director of the American Red Cross National Capital Region.

The Fairfax headquarters was called upon Monday, to supply Las Vegas hospitals with 250 units of blood and blood products. Wednesday morning, Bratton got a call for another 200 pints.

That might be all the blood Las Vegas needs from the DMV. It also might not.

"We're not holding any blood drives for Vegas and so now we have to replenish [our supply]...it's very fluid--we may send more products tomorrow," Bratton said. 

"Blood centers act as a safety net for one another. As stewards of the blood supply, it is our responsibility to ensure it is available for any and all patients," Mitzy Hill Edgecomb of Blood Systems, Inc. said., "Blood, however, can't be earmarked by the donor to support a specific event or to be sent to a designated location."

The National Capital Region chapter still needs donations to restock what they sent to Vegas. They want to be ready for anything.

"We have to respond if there's a situation here...like the shooting in Alexandria," Bratton said.

Blood is typically available for distribution to hospitals 24 to 36 hours following donation, Edgecomb said. Whole blood has a shelf life of 40 days, platelets a lot shorter--5 days, according to Bratton.

Verify spoke with two of the major hospitals neighboring Mandalay Bay. A spokesperson from The Valley Health System says they took in 229 patients, Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center says it accepted 200 victims. As of Wednesday, both say they are good on blood.

"We did have an incredible community response," Amy Doane, VP Development at Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center said. "Our local blood bank was overwhelmed with people willing to donate."

For days, lines of people willing to donate snaked out of the hospital.

 

The American Red Cross has an app called "Rapid Pass" that lets a donor track their blood donation, like a package from Amazon. It tells you the gender, age and state of your blood recipient. Some of you from the DMV very well could discover your blood ended up in Las Vegas.

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