Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia, March 23, 2017 - Staff members of the regional blood bank recently traveled to the offices of Exxon Neftegas Limited to collect blood donations. Early that morning they set up a mobile medical office in a conference room and welcomed any ENL employee who wished to donate.
“Sakhalin Oblast is in need of blood donations,” commented Rimma Kashina, head of the regional blood bank’s Blood Donor Recruitment Office. “There are blood supplies, of course, but the demand for them is huge. We have a lot of cancer patients, maternity hospitals, and trauma units, and even complex orthopedic surgical procedures that involve blood loss. And it’s not always the blood, specifically, that is needed, which is why we will extract plasma from the blood as soon as we return to the blood bank.”
Partnering with area businesses on blood donor drives is one of the ways that medical professionals are addressing this situation. Such drives are organized up to ten times a year. In order for the blood bank staff to travel to a site, certain conditions must be met. First, there must be at least 50 potential donors signed up. After all, the medical team will be coming out to spend practically the entire work day there. In addition, the company’s employees must be made aware in advance of what is involved in donating blood. There are quite a few contraindications that pertain to more than just past history of diseases. Also, a blood donor must begin fasting the night before blood is drawn.
“There are a lot of people who want to donate blood,” says Dmitriy Parshin, an ENL employee. “But for me, personally, it isn’t convenient to travel to the blood bank. When these doctors travel to us at our workplace, all we have to do is go down to the conference room. I could feel the support of friends and colleagues around me, and I was happy to take part in this event. I feel strongly that helping each other and doing good deeds are fundamental, natural human needs. It’s what gives our lives meaning.”
The blood collection procedure itself is very safe for the donor. Every instrument used in the procedure is disposable. According to doctors, there is no way for a donor to be infected with anything during the procedure. Safety matters above all else. The body of a blood donor also becomes accustomed to blood loss. The next time a person donates blood will be much less stressful on his body. However, the most important benefit is a moral one. When a person shares his blood with someone whose life depends on it, there will be times when he literally saves a life.
“This year we conducted a major educational campaign to tell people about the importance of blood donation and about the requirements that potential donors must meet to participate fully (dietary restrictions and other conditions, and medical indications),” says Yelena Golub, Chair of the ENL Volunteer Committee, describing the details of preparation for the event. “Our co-workers will be able to do more than just participate in the blood drives held at our offices: they can also visit the blood bank on their own and educate their friends and relatives about the opportunity.
Their having the necessary information will allow us to improve the quality of the process and help a greater number of people. We were pleasantly surprised by the results of our blood drive this year. More than 60 volunteers came to us, compared to the blood bank’s minimum requirement of 40 people. There were even more who wanted to donate, but unfortunately we weren’t able to accommodate all of them, because we had only so many special packets.”
A total of more than 60 people visited the improvised medical office during the two plus hours it was in operation, and there could have been even more. To deal with a larger number of donors on their next blood drive at ENL, the blood bank’s doctors promised to increase staff, equipment, and supplies.