Area health systems stress importance of blood donation

(MEDIC press release) Knoxville-area hospital organizations including Blount Memorial Hospital, Covenant Health, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Tennova Healthcare, and The University of Tennessee Medical Center are urging community members to donate blood, platelets, and plasma at MEDIC Regional Blood Center in the coming weeks.

Each year, area hospitals transfuse more than 50,000 blood products for regional patients. That is more than 4,100 transfusions per month. MEDIC must continually replenish those products to fill hospital orders.

Through this summer, MEDIC Regional Blood Center continues to see critical levels of the blood supply while demand for products have been steady or rising. Inventory levels have dropped to less than a day’s supply for blood types O Negative and O Positive on several occasions. The blood shortage is a national crisis.

“The simple gift of making a blood donation impacts many individuals in our community. For some, units of blood or blood products are needed as part of an emergency or unexpected situation, and for others, blood and blood products such as platelets and plasma are needed for ongoing health maintenance. In either case, blood and blood products are always needed to help support patients in the health care setting, and the supply of blood and blood products depends on the commitment of our communities. And right now, we need donors in our communities to help replenish and maintain MEDIC Regional Blood Center’s supply for East Tennessee,” says Dr. Harold Naramore, Blount Memorial Chief Medical Officer.

“There has been additional strain on community and national blood supplies over the past year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to preserve the life and health of our communities, we’re pleased to support local efforts to encourage and re-energize blood donations. Donating blood is one small way that people can make a significant difference in the lives of others,” says Connie Martin, Vice President & Chief Support Officer, Methodist Medical Center, a member hospital of Covenant Health.

“We are so thankful for blood donors,” says Barbara Nussbaum, Blood Bank supervisor at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. “I can say from the bottom of my heart that each donor is special because every child we transfuse is special. We treasure their gift of life.”

“MEDIC Regional Blood Center is currently experiencing a critically low level of blood products in our area. Blood donations have been down since the beginning of the pandemic and are slow to recover. Recently people who put off medical care during the pandemic are now entering the hospital and we are in dire need of blood products. MEDIC needs your help to resupply our local stores with red blood cells, plasma, and platelets. Please show your volunteer spirit and give blood today,” says Dr. Frank Beuerlein, Tennova Healthcare Chief Medical Officer.

“As the region’s Level I trauma center, blood donations are essential to save injured trauma patients as well as many other critical patients,” says Blaine Enderson, MD and vice president, Emergency Department, Trauma and Critical Care at The University of Tennessee Medical Center.

For more information on MEDIC Regional Blood Center or to schedule your donation, please visit our website at, or contact Director of Communications Kristy Altman at [email protected] or by phone at 865-805-2008.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:30 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, and cats Oliver, Bow and Libby.

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