EDITOR, The Tribune.
I NOTED with interest the letter published in your paper of this date (7/19/16) concerning the blood banks refusal of any blood donations from British citizens living in The Bahamas - so too the article of the same date stressing the shortage of blood at all blood banks.
While I cannot comment on the decision to refuse donations from British donors due to lack of knowledge, I would reply to all concerned parties that at least some of the responsibility for the shortages should fall on the blood bank workers themselves. Why you ask? I have been a registered blood donor for many years at both Doctor’s Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital. That means I have supplied all my contact information numerous times and have donation cards from both blood banks. Therefore, common sense would assume that the banks, running short of blood, would actually make an effort and pick up the phone and start calling their registered donors – people they already know are prepared to donate. Does this happen?
Absolutely not, or at least, I have never received a single phone call and my phone number has remained unchanged for over 30 years, and my last name starts with a D so, it’s not like they have to thumb through too many cards before they get to my name. Further, I am 0 positive, which, while not as valuable as 0 negative, is still an easily accepted blood type for many.
While I applaud the blood drives that are launched, when I last attempted to donate at one occurring at a key store in the Marathon Mall, the blood bank staff were so busy talking among themselves, that I actually had to query if they were open for business and then stood there waiting for someone to get out of the chairs that were supplied for donors as they had their finger pricked and information checked! The attitude I encountered so disheartened me that I walked off and never did donate that day.
I hasten to add that there are many devoted, hardworking staff members at the blood banks but like all of us, they can do better. Be on the ball and acknowledge all persons who approach your stations – they might be hesitant and your smile and welcome could be the very thing that decides their donation. Be pro-active and call donors as they do in the States and Canada – your donors will not let you down. Finally, be appreciative of those who donate – you never know when you or a family member might be the recipient of their donation.
July 19, 2016.