St. Luke’s Hospital announces improved contract, services for blood products

Published 6:16 pm Thursday, December 29, 2011

St. Luke’s Hospital officials are pleased to announce a new contract with an Upstate, S.C. provider for blood products. Improved pricing, distribution, collection, tracking and customer service are just a few of the reasons St. Luke’s has contracted with The Blood Connection out of Greenville.
Every two seconds, someone in the United States will need blood. No matter the age of one in need, blood is necessary to sustain life, and it’s a wonderful thing that others can contribute this precious life source. Blood can be shared from one individual to another, safely and efficiently, to help people suffering critical injuries or serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease and sickle cell anemia. According to the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), an estimated 23 million units of blood components are transfused into patients annually in the United States.
“We used 90 units of fresh frozen plasma, 22 units of platelets, and 552 units of blood and blood products last year at St. Luke’s Hospital,” said Jody Flynn, manager of the lab at St. Luke’s Hospital. “Most of this was used during surgery, following a traumatic injury or as a transfusion to treat disease, but all blood and blood products were to many, a true gift of life.
“Polk County residents are very generous and regularly schedule blood donations, but it seems there is always a need,” Flynn said. “With The Blood Connection, St. Luke’s Hospital will have a guaranteed supply of the blood type and product we need. If we have a type we haven’t used but it’s nearing expiration, The Blood Connection will get it to another hospital right away so no donation is ever wasted and discarded. According to The Blood Connection, donors are informed that their blood donations may be used locally or to help save lives across the country. The important thing for donors to realize is that the needs of the patients in the hospitals regularly served by The Blood Connection are always met first. After meeting this priority, the perishable human resource (red blood cells 35-42 days, platelets 5 days) will be sent to other hospitals rather than expiring.
“We believe donors will continue to support the hospital’s need for blood donations, knowing that this service brings great improvements and cost savings to our community hospital,” Flynn said.
In the past few months, St. Luke’s and several neighboring NC hospitals have joined major hospitals in Spartanburg and Greenville, to utilize The Blood Connection for blood supplies,  said Ken Shull, chief executive officer for St. Luke’s Hospital.
Founded in 1979, The Blood Connection is the largest non-profit community blood center in Upstate South Carolina. The Blood Connection is licensed and regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“We have already greatly benefitted from their commitment to excellent customer service and especially their inventory management. Nothing feels worse than having to discard life-sustaining blood someone selflessly donated,” Shull said. “We are pleased to join a growing list of area hospitals that depend on The Blood Connection, and we look forward to a long relationship. The community is invited to come out for our first blood drive of the New Year scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 5. This is a great opportunity to meet our new partner while helping others and helping St. Luke’s Hospital provide exceptional care, close to home.”
Start the New Year off right—give the gift of life during a blood drive on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at St. Luke’s Hospital. Please call 894-2408 to schedule a time convenient for you. Free pizza will be served, and donors can choose to receive a free T-shirt or movie tickets.

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