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VA Hospital holds much needed blood drive

The American Red Cross teamed up with Dorn VA Hospital to have a community blood drive.
Credit: WLTX

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The need for blood donations is constant across the country.

The American Red Cross is working through this pandemic to continue to collect donations to support community members.

The Dorn Veteran’s Hospital in Columbia hosted one of these critical drives Friday.

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“It’s so important to give blood all the time throughout the year but particularly now with the COVID19 pandemic affecting all of us across the world," Columbia VA Hospital Director and CEO David Omura told News19, "It’s important to make sure we have critical blood supply available especially as we start to move into providing more surgeries again, taking care of more people in our hospitals as we start to reopen our economy.”

The hospital coordinated ahead of time to ensure good social distancing while community members donate blood, such as wiping all of the waiting chairs and donation chairs as well as keeping everyone 6 ft. apart. 

“Every person that comes in, we’re taking their temperature, we’re asking the COVID related questions to make sure they’ve not been in an area where COVID is prevalent, or around people that are COVID positive," Omura adds, "We’re also making sure that they are wearing appropriate PPE like we’re all wearing here today. These types of measures play a key role ensuring that we’re in a good position.”

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75 community members and staff signed up online to donate blood to help save lives. Omura says, “I’m proud to say that whether it’s the American Red Cross, or partnering with DHEC, or the SC Hospital Association, we are all pulling together to be successful.”

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Dorn Veteran’s Hospital is also participating in the convalescent plasma treatment.

Convalescent plasma is plasma is donated from someone who has recovered from COVID19. The plasma in their blood contains antibodies that are used to fight the virus.

Physicians at Dorn are hoping to use this convalescent plasma to transfuse into patients who are critically ill with COVID19. This is an experimental treatment that has shown signs of improvement according to lead medical technologist of the blood bank at Dorn, Josh Ehrhorn.

“The American Red Cross is still trying to ramp up their production of convalescent plasma," Ehrhorn says, "At this point its almost like the transplant list- the units are rare so you can order them and the turnaround time is almost a week to get the plasma. They’re hoping to increase that production in the future so that it will be more like a routine order.”

If you have recovered from COVID19 and would like to donate your plasma, you can do so at the American Red Cross Donation center on Bull Street.

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