A new study shows there is a spike in blood donations after a tragedy – like the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting. University of Nebraska – Omaha Assistant professor Justin Nix with the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice co-authored the study that shows that a significant amount of blood donated immediately after a mass causality is not used.
Nix says, “About 17% of the blood went unused. People have this altruistic desire to donate blood following an event like that, which is totally understandable but the blood that is going to save lives from these incidents is already on the shelves. It takes a couple of days to process the blood that is donated so we have to come up with a better way of managing the donations so we don’t let resources go unused.”
Nix says they learned that 500 units of blood were used the day of the shooting. In that same time frame, donors gave nearly 800 units. He says the value of this study shows how people and communities can better handle these types of situations.
Nix says, “Training the community is stopping hemorrhaging. Whether that be through tourniquets or what have you. We also recommend that public officials, weight the pros and cons of going in front of the media and imploring the public to donate. Only do that if the blood banks have approved sending out that message.”
Nix says we also need to think about how to respond to these incidents before they occur. That includes routine blood donations by the public so it is already on the shelf when it is needed.
UNO researchers collected the data from healthcare, public safety and law enforcement agencies. It will be published in the “Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery”.