Health, News

Blood Donors Needed: Canadian Blood Services

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Blood The organization that looks after Canada’s blood supply says the country’s supply is very low and they urgently need blood donors.

Canadian Blood Services is a non-profit organization that collects blood for use during operations or whenever it is needed in Canada (except in Quebec, where it is collected by a different organization). Blood is donated by members of the public who come to a donation centre. One “unit” of blood is taken; a unit is about 450 millilitres.

In healthy people, blood is naturally replaced by the body within 56 days.

About 50 per cent of people in Canada are able to donate blood, but only about 3.2 per cent of Canadians do. More than 52 per cent of Canadians said they have, at some point in their life, needed blood for a treatment or for surgery.

Blood Services always needs to have enough blood to last five to eight days (about 23,000 units) on hand in case people need it. Right now, there is only about a three-day supply (16,500 units) available.

Without the blood, some patients who have scheduled an operation may have to postpone it. Emergency operations will continue to be conducted as needed.

“The need for blood is constant,” said Michael Betel, Director of Donor Relations for Canadian Blood Services. “Every minute of every day someone in Canada needs blood.”

Blood is used for many medical procedures. “If someone is in a car accident they would need 50 units of blood,” said Betel. “If someone has cancer it can be five units for a cancer treatment; people with leukemia can use 200 units of blood.”

The supply of blood was even lower last week, before the organization sent out an urgent call for donations to Canadians.Blood donation

“We use 17,000 units every week across Canada. On top of that we need to have a reservoir of extra blood—in case something urgent happens,” said Betel.

Blood “keeps” (is good) for 42 days. After that, it cannot be used.

Betel said the supply is low because the number of people donating has dropped. “And we’ve had more cancellations of appointments and more donors not show up for their appointments,” he said.

This year 133,000 appointments were cancelled and 119,000 people missed their appointment.

Adults 17 or older can book online to make an appointment to give blood at blood.ca or they can call 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236 6283). There is also a phone app, GiveBlood, that helps people find the donation centre nearest them and book an appointment.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Blood Services is trying to get more people to donate blood. Some ways they are doing this is through an app that allows people to find a donation centre that is close to them. What are some other strategies Blood Services could use to get more people to donate blood?

Reading Prompt: Making Inferences/Interpreting Texts
The article explains, “Betel said the supply is low because the number of people donating has dropped. ‘And we’ve had more cancellations of appointments and more donors not show up for their appointments,’ he said.

Why do you think less people are donating blood?

Junior
Develop interpretations about texts using stated and implied ideas to support their interpretations (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Intermediate
Develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Language Feature: Writing Numbers 
There are many numbers in this article. Some are written with numerals and others are written with words. Can you figure out when you should write words with numbers or words?