Hinsdale Hospital encourages blood donations to meet demand
Laraine Ludwig checks on Meghan Ellington, a volunteer and employee, while she finishes donating platelets. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Upcoming blood drives
Date: Saturday, Jan 26
Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Location: 945 S. Garfield St., Hinsdale *
Hosted by: Hinsdale Masonic Lodge 934
Date: Thurday, Jan 31
Time: 3 to 7 p.m.
Location: Trinity School Gym, 11503 German Church Road, Burr Ridge,
Date: Saturday, Feb. 2
Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Five Seasons Sports Club, 6901 S. Madison St., Burr Ridge
Date: Saturday, Feb. 2
Time: 12:30 to 5 p.m.
Location: Covenant Church, Fourth Street and Garfield Avenue, Hinsdale *
Hosted by: Boy Scouts Troop 8
* Call 1-800-REDCROSS or look at www.redcrossblood.org to schedule an appointment
Ongoing: The Adventist Lab partner Blood Center, 121 N. Elm St., Hinsdale,
Times: 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday.
Appointment: Call (630) 856-7840.
Updated: January 29, 2013 12:23PM
HINSDALE — Meghan Ellington gives it her all at work.
Ellington is an administrative assistant at the Adventist Hinsdale Hospital laboratory. She also donates blood regularly at Adventist Lab Partners Blood Center. She has been a blood donor for 10 years.
“I started out in high school,” said Ellington. “It went quicker for me than some of the people there.”
She decided giving blood was a simple way she could help a lot of people.
Ellington started working at Hinsdale hospital in October 2010. She also volunteered to be “on call” for the lab center, which is located next to the hospital.
On Jan. 11, Ellington, whose blood type is AB positive, had platelets drawn. Platelets are the part of blood that helps it clot to stop bleeding. A cell-separating machine collects the platelets, but because it returns the other blood components back to the donor, a person can give platelets more often than whole blood. But platelets have a short shelf life, five days, compared to up to 42 days for red blood cells.
Platelets are used during organ transplants, given to cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, and are part of many surgeries to stop blood loss.
Every donor at the Adventist Lab Center this month, National Blood Donor Month, will be entered in a drawing for a free Samsung Galaxy Tablet. Second prize is a restaurant gift certificate and third prize is a $50 gas card.
The blood center uses about 1,000 pints of blood a month at its four hospitals: Hinsdale, Bolingbrook, GlenOaks and La Grange Memorial, said JoEllyn Bross, Adventist’s regional donor recruiter.
But the center receives only 150 to 200 pints from donors each month
“It makes me very sad we don’t get enough to cover the demand,” Bross said.
Adventist purchases the additional blood it needs from blood centers, such as LifeSource, Heartland and the American Red Cross.
Only 38 percent of the general population is eligible to donate blood, due to factors such as their age, health, medication or other risk factors. Of those, only about 8 percent donate blood, said Ben Corey, program manager with the Red Cross.
The entire process, including having your vital signs checked and answering a health survey before your blood is drawn, usually takes an hour or less, Corey said. Only 10 to 15 minutes of that time is spent drawing the blood.