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Health Minister donates blood to Red Cross

Health Minister Zane DeSilva yesterday donated blood in a bid to draw awareness to the Bermuda Red Cross Blood Donor Centre's drive for more donors.

Joined by his wife Joanne, Mr DeSilva went to the Centre at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital yesterday morning and they both gave a pint of blood.

“I am keen to do whatever I can to bring attention to the importance of giving blood,” said Minister De Silva. “It doesn't take very long, is relatively painless and means you will ultimately be saving lives in Bermuda. And you never know when it could be you who will someday need that precious gift returned.”

He added: “The nurses and staff at KEMH were extremely personable and attentive and for that I want to thank them, along with the many residents who regularly make the altruistic choice to donate blood on a regular basis.”

Bermuda has approximately 2000 to 2500 active donors, which constitutes about 3.3 percent of the population a number which Dr. Lombard and her team would like to see increase to six percent.

The hospital uses more than 2,200 units of blood each year. Blood has a shelf life of five days or less for platelets, 42 days for red blood cells and a year for plasma, which is why the need for donors is constant.

Medical Director of the Blood Transfusion Service at KEMH Dr. Betsie Lombard said KEMH collects and transfuses approximately 50 units of blood a week and that most of that blood goes to surgical or medical patients.

Most healthy people between 18 and 70 who weigh a minimum of 110lbs can donate blood. The body will replace the donated amount within 24 hours. The entire process, including pre-testing, donating and time for refreshments afterwards takes about one hour. To donate blood contact The Bermuda Blood Donor Centre at 236-5067.

Photo by Mark Tatem Comfortable: Minister of Health Zane DeSilva and his wife Joanne relax at the blood donors clinic of the King Edward VII hospital while making a donation yesterday morning.

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Published December 09, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 10, 2010 at 3:29 am)

Health Minister donates blood to Red Cross

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