World Blood Donor Day: DRK calls for blood donation

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German Red Cross calls for blood donation on World Blood Donation Day

On the 14th, the German Red Cross (DRK) called on German citizens to donate more blood. With World Blood Donor Day, the inventor of blood donation, Dr. Karl Landsteiner, who was born on June 14, 1868. In view of the increased EHEC diseases, blood donations are currently urgently needed to save lives.

Every year on World Blood Donor Day, attention is drawn to the need for the act of solidarity of donating blood. Serious accidents happen every day, in which people lose life-threatening amounts of blood or a medical intervention for the additional administration of blood is necessary. The intervention is only feasible because many people agree to donate their blood voluntarily. In view of the currently prevailing EHEC crisis, the German Red Cross is increasingly calling for blood donations. The willingness to donate could already be increased slightly through multiple calls.

Campaign event for blood donation
Information and campaign events on World Blood Donor Day were held throughout Germany. In numerous speeches, doctors, experts and scientists called on people to donate blood. Due to the EHEC epidemic, large amounts of blood are currently required. Patients with haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) and suffering from severe EHEC symptoms have a particularly high need for donor blood. Deliveries of blood plasma in the last three weeks at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf alone consumed the supplies for four months. In Hamburg-Eppendorf, over 100 patients are currently receiving intensive care due to the HUS syndrome. The district manager of the DRK Wilfried Mercks explained in a press conference: "Blood plasma is particularly needed for patients who are suffering from the dangerous complication of hemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS)." Right now people shouldn't shy away from the step of donating blood.

15,000 blood donations are needed every day
Around 15,000 blood donations are used every day. This means that around 4.9 million whole blood donations are needed for medical emergencies in the Federal Republic alone. The DRK blood donation services alone provide around 3.8 million blood donations every year. The DRK thus covers around 75 percent of all blood donations in Germany. The donations are voluntary and free of charge. In most cases, a small medical check-up and a snack are offered in return. DRK experts estimate that around 3 percent of adults donate blood regularly. However, there are still bottlenecks.

Body regenerates quickly after a donation
The donor blood corresponds to only a very small proportion of the total body volume, so that the donated blood is replaced by the organism. White blood cells are regenerated after just one day, while it takes a few days longer for red blood cells. The donor's circulation has already recovered after around 30 minutes. All healthy people between the ages of 18 and 70 can donate blood. If you donate blood for the first time, you should not have reached the age of 64. Each donor should have a minimum body weight of 50 kilograms. The donation process does not take longer than 15 to 20 minutes. You should plan for at least one hour for the entire process. This includes regular waiting times, a medical examination by a doctor and filling out a questionnaire. Male donors are advised not to donate blood more than six times a year. Women should donate blood no more than four times a year.

EHEC patients urgently need blood donations
Although the new infection rate of the EHEC pathogen is slowly declining, the epidemic keeps the DRK Blood Donation Service North (BSD North) on its toes. Patients suffering from the serious consequences of the infectious disease need blood transfusions almost every day. Therefore, at least ten donors are needed every day for the Hamburg-Eppendorf clinic alone. Since all reserves have already been used up, preparations must now be requested from other DRK blood donation services nationwide. "We now have to build up plasma supplies again as quickly as possible in order to be able to care for seriously ill patients in the clinics even in summer," said Dr. Geert Geusendam from DRK Nord.

Appeals could increase willingness to donate
The DRK and other blood donation organizations have already called for increased donations in the past week. According to the DRK Hamburg, an increase of 12 percent was achieved in Schleswig-Holstein and in the Hanseatic city. “We are particularly happy about the numerous inquiries from new donors. We ask everyone who also wants to help to take advantage of the blood donation campaigns offered in their living environment, because our workload does not allow further campaigns, ”said Jens Lichte. All donor teams are on the go and the capacities are almost exhausted.

In the past eight days of the week, approximately 12,000 doses of blood plasma have been delivered to clinics in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein. This means an enormously increased amount that was necessary due to the sometimes difficult EHEC courses. An average of 10 blood donors per day are needed for a seriously ill HUS patient. This amount is needed for the therapy from a few days to weeks. In addition, numerous platelet concentrates are needed to treat the currently occurring TTP disease (thrombotic - thrombocytopenic purpura). (sb)

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Image: Herbert Käfer /

Author and source information

Video: World blood donation day poster World Blood Donor Day 2020. 14th June 2020Donate blood savelife


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