Giving the gift of life

It’s truly a life force pumping through the body of every person living on the planet. No one can live without it — and yet it’s relatively easy to share.

And the need for blood donation is always there.

“We transfuse 350 to 400 units per month,” said Troy Krogh, supervisor for the microbiology and transfusion department at St. George Regional Hospital.

That equals roughly 105,000 to 120,000 milliliters of blood, donated and distributed to places like the cancer center, IV centers in the area, and anyone else in need.

“We have accidents come into the emergency department all the time and sometimes those are bad and can use a lot of blood,” Krogh said. “Through Intermountain and the Red Cross, we do our best not to waste any blood and send it where it’s needed.”

Janeen Avant, an emergency department clinical coordinator, sees the need in the emergency department on a regular basis. Often it is trauma patients requiring additional blood, but Avant said they also utilize blood packs for blood-borne diseases, or when they need to reverse medications in certain patients.

“Blood is used for so many different things,” Avant said.

For now, Krogh said the blood supply levels are good, but there have been times when donations were scarce, which Avant said can lead to a lot of problems.

“When we don’t have the blood we need, we do the best with what we have,” Avant said. “There are some medicines that can help during a blood donation shortage, but they don’t work quickly. The blood bank then works with other facilities to get what is needed. In a real shortage, they would have to prioritize who needs blood and who can wait, which can be a real problem.”

Fortunately, the solution to the problem is relatively simple: blood donation.

“Just make an appointment with the Red Cross,” Avant said. “They’ll screen you and help you find out if you’re eligible or not.”

Donated blood is sent to the Red Cross in Salt Lake City and then distributed to areas that need it.

“It’s so important to be helping people be healthy and have what they need by donating blood whenever you can,” Krogh said.

For Avant, it’s giving something that simply cannot be sourced any other way.

“It’s such a valuable tool and we realize that,” Avant said. “We can try to replace it with other things, but there is no man-made product that can replace what the human body can do. We need it to treat patients.”

To find a blood donation location near you, simply log onto and find out more.

This LiVe Wellcolumn represents collaboration between healthcare professionals from the medical staffs of our not-for-profit Intermountain Healthcare hospitals and The Spectrum & Daily News.

This article originally appeared on St. George Spectrum & Daily News: Live Well: Giving the gift of life