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A RESOLUTE ST. PATRICK’S DAY BLOOD DRIVE AT REID HEALTH

March 18, 2020

RICHMOND, Indiana - Reid Health added sensible safety measures to protect the hospital, then resolutely went forward with its March 17 St. Patrick's Day blood drive to protect the regional blood supply.

Reid Health has been a hospital partner of Community Blood Center since 1974. In January Reid expanded to a monthly schedule of community blood drives in Lingle Hall, open all day to staff and community members, and including automated platelet and plasma donations.

Rapidly-enacted community safeguards against the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 caused Reid to consider moving the blood drive to a CBC Bloodmobile. But Reid CEO Craig Kinyon decided this was not to time limit blood collections, and told concerned staff members, "I will take this one."

"Because there's a critical blood shortage and we need the blood," said Kinyon, as he donated platelets at the Reid blood drive. "If the people that need the blood aren't helping get the blood, then something is wrong."

Director of Laboratory Services Chuck McGill, the long-time coordinator of Reid blood drives, recognized the concerns. "Having people from outside access the hospital without anyone checking them," said McGill.

Now people enter the hospital from one door where they are greeted by staff members in surgical masks. They're asked a series of question about their travel, health, and contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19.

"They go from the checkpoint directly to the elevator to donate here, and leave the same way," said McGill. "It limits their exposure to the hospital, and the hospital exposure to them with social distancing."

"Some want to say if we err on the side of safety, nothing will happen," said Kinyon. "Then nothing would happen, we wouldn't have blood, and we'd start cancelling surgeries."

Reid totaled 173 donors with 133 whole blood donations, three double red cell donations and two platelet donations for 164 percent of collection goal.

Terressa Williams is an ER nurse who has worked at Reid for 31 years. She came to the blood drive with a surgical mask because wearing them is a new protocol in the ER. "I haven't donated in a year," she said. "But I'm here because it was needed."

Donors sat apart in the Donor Café and let CBC staff serve them snacks and St. Patrick's Day brownies with green sprinkles.

Richmond donor Helen Back knows how quickly plans can change. She was able to come to Tuesday's blood drive and donated platelets for her 96th lifetime donation after her planned vacation cruise became a casualty of COVID-19.

"We were supposed to board yesterday for the Bahamas," she said, wearing a bright green "Lucky" St. Patrick's Day t-shirt. "I bought green t-shirts for all four of us to wear today. Instead, we'll have dinner by candlelight tonight.

"If I was going to be home, then I would donate. If I can, I'll do it.  I have a brother-in-law with cancer and a neighbor diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time. This is my way of helping."