Healthcare re-opening leads to urgent call for blood donations

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky started its third phase of re-opening healthcare Wednesday, with some non-urgent surgeries and procedures allowed again. The re-opening comes with a call for more blood donation.

For Leslie Berndl, donating blood is personal. She served as a paramedic for 19 years and says she saw many patients receive life-saving blood transfusions.

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“So, it’s kinda near and dear thing to my heart to know that there’s enough blood for people who need it,” Berndl says.

Berdnl visited the Kentucky Blood Center in April, in the midst of a global pandemic. She says that’s how important it is to her.

“It’s an easy thing to do,” Berndl says. “It doesn’t cost anything. It’s so much more meaningful to me to give something that’s probably going to save someone’s life.

American Red Cross representative Tiffany Taylor says blood donations have dropped severely during the pandemic. She says, in part, it’s because 80-percent of its donation drives are held at churches, high schools and colleges. Most of these places are currently closed.

Taylor says the need for blood isn’t going away, and the blood has to be fresh.

“The unfortunate thing about the coronavirus is there is no end date, and blood is a perishable item,” Taylor says.  “It’s like your milk. It has an expiration date.”

According to Taylor, it’s 42 days to be exact. She says donations could be the difference between life and death for many patients. It can range from new mothers who lose blood during labor, to car crash victims suffering trauma.

Leslie Berndl says those things happen every day, regardless of the pandemic.

“I think it’s really important for people to understand that just because the focus is on this virus that all the other life and unfortunate circumstances haven’t stopped.”