Monday, June 13, 2016

Blood Connects Us All!

Blood cells
A decision to donate your blood can save a life. Why?  There is a constant need for regular blood donations (450 ml every 4 months or longer) by healthy people to ensure blood is available for transfusions. Safe blood saves lives and improves health. "Blood connects us all" is the theme of World Blood Donor Day on June 14th, 2016. The focus is on the dimension of "sharing" and "connection" between blood donors and patients. 

Who needs blood?

People undergoing complex medical and surgical procedures or people with severe trauma following an accident or disaster may require blood transfusions. Women with pregnancy complications such as ectopic pregnancies or haemorrhages may require transfusions and also adults and children suffering from severe anaemia. Regular transfusions are required by people with conditions such as sickle cell disease and thalassaemia. Blood is used to make products such as clotting factors for people with haemophilia. Searching some of our Library Databases reveal detailed explanations of these conditions and associated research. See this example by entering “thalassaemia” as a keyword search in Clinical Key. Please note that some databases are only accessible to RCSI staff and students. 

Taking all these situations into consideration it becomes clear how necessary blood donations are and why blood is referred to as the “gift of life”.

RCSI Research

Robert McDonnell (1828-1889)
From surgical techniques to blood transfusion, many advances in healthcare knowledge and understanding have come from the medical professionals associated with RCSI since it’s founding in the late 18th century. The scale and impact of RCSI research has grown significantly as demonstrated by the increase in size and scope of Research Day

Robert McDonnell was a prominent Irish surgeon in the 1800s. He carried out the first ever human-to-human blood transfusion in Ireland more than 150 years ago in April 1865 in Jervis Street Hospital, Dublin. Robert received his licence from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 1851 and was elected its President in 1877. Read more on this story in RCSI Heritage Blog.

Robert McDonnell's blood transfusion apparatus

Test your Knowledge on blood donation!

Blood donation and transfusion techniques have come a long way since then. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that all blood donations should be screened for infections prior to use. Screening should be mandatory for HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and syphilis and The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) is committed to supplying Irish hospitals with blood that is as safe as it can be. Check out how much you know already by taking this fun Quiz by the WHO.

To donate blood to the IBTS, see how to Become a Donor.