Want to donate blood for Las Vegas victims? Here’s the lowdown

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — With the recent massacre at the concert in Las Vegas so close in mind, many are wanting to know how they can donate blood to the victims. The Red Cross donation center on Riverside Drive in St. George was swamped with people Monday who wished to donate blood to assist in the lifesaving efforts. Many were turned away. Why this happened is a matter of logistics.

The local chapter of the American Red Cross schedules their technicians, nurses and doctors to be in various areas on different days. The Riverside Drive center was scheduled to take blood donations on Monday, a spokesman said. Based on past donations, supplies were ordered and schedules were set up.

However, when news of the Las Vegas shooting broke, a rush occurred. Appointments for taking donations quickly filled for the day. Donations were still accepted for people who had O+ and O- blood, as that type is always desperately needed.

The center only had enough resources to handle the appointments and a few more. Resources not only include human resources but also bags, needles, tubing, et cetera. The center received offers of help from doctors and technicians, but the resources just weren’t enough to handle the influx of people who wished to donate.

If you were lucky enough to donate in St. George Monday, your blood would not have been sent to Las Vegas anyway; however, your donation was certainly not wasted.

As previously reported at St. George News, Joseph Lombardo, the sheriff for Clark County, Nevada, announced Monday that all blood used for the victims would come from United Blood Services, not from the American Red Cross. The Sheriff’s Office could not be reached for further comment as to why this was the case.

United Blood Services is a nonprofit organization that collects blood through donations for over 700 hospitals in 22 states. If you wish to donate through United Blood Services, they have two locations in Las Vegas and locations in Henderson, Carson City, Reno and Sparks, Nevada. Addresses for the Las Vegas and Henderson locations are linked below in the “Resources” section.

However, according to a report Tuesday from CBS News, officials in Las Vegas say that they currently have enough blood to meet immediate needs, citing “overwhelming turnout.”

Donors are still encouraged to donate blood, as it will help to free up the overall blood supply. Also, injured victims of the shooting may need operations later, so more blood will be needed.

However, Eric Hill, regional director of United Blood Services, was quoted in the Las Vegas Review Journal as requesting people to hold off for a couple days or even a couple weeks.

“The problem is I’ve had staff here now for 12 hours,” Hill said Monday afternoon. “We’ve met the immediate need of blood, so now what we’re asking people to do is pledge to come back in a week, come back in two weeks … (or) a few days. Sunday mornings tend to be light.”

Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George does not accept donations of blood or blood products, spokeswoman for Intermountain Healthcare Terri Draper said Tuesday. All blood used at DRMC is supplied by the American Red Cross.

Donations for the Red Cross are always needed for local people who need blood and blood products. St. George News is a partner in helping to inform readers where and when donations are scheduled throughout Southern Utah. Your donation is welcomed and needed to keep our community hospitals supplied with blood and blood products. These products have a shelf life, so donations are accepted year-round at the donation sites.

To find out when blood drives are being held, click here.

Blood is always needed. The American Red Cross invites you to become a donor.

Ed. note: United Blood Services does not have a donation location in Utah. The Farmington location mentioned in an earlier version is in New Mexico, not Utah as it says on their web site.


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