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Blood donors urged to give as Hurricane Florence tracks to hit east coast

September 10, 2018

As Hurricane Florence is expected to become a major hurricane later this week, with a projected landfall off the coast of North Carolina, hospital officials are urging individuals to give blood before the storm.  Blood donations of all types are needed, but individuals with type A and O are most needed, O- being the highest in demand because it is a universal donor type.

“It is imperative that we have an adequate supply of blood on hand for any emergencies that may arise during the storm,” urged Natalie Lamb, Director of Laboratory & Donor Services.  During Hurricane Matthew, the county experienced significant flooding and power outages, limiting the ability to get donations after the storm.  “Currently, we are at minimum inventory so by being prepared before the storm arrives it enables us to have supply on hand in case we experience the same aftermath as Hurricane Matthew,” added Lamb. 

Availability of blood after the storm is just as important stated Lamb. “We want to have blood available for emergent situations during the storm, but we will still need donations after the storm as well.”  Depending on storm damage in other counties, it may drive in an influx of patients who are unable to seek care at other facilities.

Sampson Regional Medical Center is one of few hospitals in the state that provides most all of its blood supply.  When the hospital cannot sustain its own blood supply, it must purchase from other hospitals or blood collection agencies, such as the American Red Cross, which could also experience a shortage after the storm.

Available donors are encouraged to give as immediately as possible.  Donors can schedule their appointment by visiting www.SampsonRMC.org/blooddonor or by calling 910-592-2689, x2253 or 910-592-8511, x 3144.  The Blood Donor Center is conveniently located inside the Outpatient Diagnostics Center at 233 Beaman Street and is accepting donors today until 4:00 p.m., Tuesday, 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., and Wednesday, 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  Appointments are not required.

Donors must meet the following requirements before becoming a blood donor.

  • Be in good general health
  • At least 18 years of age and weigh over 110 pounds
  • Persons 17 years old may donate with parental consent

Most blood donations last approximately 45 minutes.  Donors are eligible every eight weeks to give blood.  Donors unable to give this week are encouraged to call and schedule an appointment for next week to ensure an adequate supply remains on hand for all patients. 

SampsonRMC also schedules onsite blood drives for any organization within the community.   Any business, school, church, or other organization may get involved by contacting Debbie Gautier, R.N. at 910-592-2689, ext. 2253.