WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13: Health Minister Zane De Silva is “O Positive” that giving blood is a good idea.
So Mr De Silva put his money where his mouth was and queued up to donate a pint to publicise tomorrow’s World Blood Donor Day.
Mr De Silva said: “I’m keen to do whatever I can to bring attention to the importance of giving blood. It doesn’t take very long, is relatively painless and means you will ultimately be saving lives in Bermuda.
“And you never know when it could be you who will some day need that precious gift returned.”
Mr De Silva’s O group is the most common in the world — and one of the most useful, because O type blood can be used for any other blood group, as long as the donor matches as positive or negative.
The hospital uses more than 2,200 units of blood a year and blood donations can be broken down into platelets, red cells and plasma.
Shelf lives of the components range from seven days to a year for plasma, which can be frozen.
Blood Transfusion Service medical director Dr Eyitayo Fakunle said that the unit collects around 50 units of blood a week, with most donations going to surgical and medical patients rather than trauma patients.
But he said severe trauma cases can place a strain on resources because of the large amount of blood products needed per case.
Bermuda has just 1,100 active donors — around two per cent of the population, well below most western countries. The transfusion team want to double that figure.
Anyone interested in donating blood should contact the Blood Donor Centre at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital on 236-5067 or visit its Facebook page at Betsie Blood-Drop.