Nova Scotia blood clinics struggle for donations during long weekend
Published Saturday, August 5, 2017 7:21PM ADT
Last Updated Saturday, August 5, 2017 7:49PM ADT
Friday’s internet and phone service outage in Atlantic Canada left blood donor clinics in Noa Scotia behind their goals at a crucial time, heading into the long Natal Day weekend.
At 11 a.m., Saturday morning, it was business as usual at the Bayer’s road Canadian Blood Services Clinic in Halifax, N.S. Donors arrived but, staff nervously watched the front door, hoping more people would come in despite it being the start of the weekend.
“We lost approximately 200 units across Atlantic Canada, now we need to make up for it,” says Kathy Gracie from Canadian Blood Services.
Due to Friday’s service outage, staff members at every blood clinic in the region were left with blank computer screens during what Blood Services calls the most critical time for donations.
With no internet connection, clinics couldn’t do screenings of donors or take blood for sake of the safety of the blood supply.
Saturday, blood services tried to make up for the loss because Monday is a holiday in Halifax.
“So there's no clinics closed on Monday, here in Halifax, we are open from three to 7 p.m., and we have about 40 appointments here alone, in this clinic to fill," Gracie says.
Blood Services says during the long weekend donations are low and they want to put an emphasis on getting donations of whole blood.
Duncan Johnstone, who is back in Halifax after seven years of working in the Yukon, says giving blood has been high on his priority list. He was at the Blood Services Clinic in Halifax along with his fiancé who was giving blood for the first time.
"No more personal than just I think it's an extremely important thing to do, it's a really easy thing to do, so why wouldn't one do it, it can save lives, and obviously, that's important,” says Johnstone.
Megan Kenny was also at the clinic Saturday. She says she didn’t know the long weekend was a critical time for donations, but she donates blood regularly.
“I heard about that when I arrived here today, obviously, thinking about it, they would have had problems, but, that wasn't the reason, I was coming anyway,” says Kenny.
Kenny says she donates blood as often as she can because as a medical professional she understands the importance of donating.
"I think it's just that I’ve always been aware of the need in health care for donations, and things like that, and I’m lucky that I’m healthy and capable of donating,” she says. “So I do it.”
Blood Services says the demand for blood is highest on long summer weekends because that is when traffic accidents are at their peak.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ron Shaw.