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Friday, May 20, 2022

Columns

Lack of blood donors sparks urgency


| Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

| Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

No one’s saying that it’s cheap — the cost of your blood — not in the allegorical, story-telling sense, but the nutrient-flowing, metabolic waste eliminating liquid goop — is probably priceless.

If you disagree, try pressing your mother, brother or significant other for some of theirs. You’ll likely find that you aren’t the majority. Even the wildest quadrupeds, living in Siberian ice mounds, underwater caverns or suburban trash bins, share our cultural bias for the costliness of life’s elixir. In fact, the notion is less cultural than essential; it’s just one of the burdens of living.

With this in mind, the idea of a blood shortage isn’t exactly implausible. After June’s storms in the Eastern and Midwestern parts of the country, The American Red Cross erected something of a white flag. Donations were stalling, and the organization needed help. It’s run through the social networking gamut, local news dives and university circuits, which explains why the same four nurses appear in front of, behind and inside of your department’s building simultaneously. They’re trying, and they’re making waves; but the results just aren’t tipping the bar.

The nonchalance about sharing is causing a dangerous problem. Because the Red Cross supplies about 44 percent of the nation’s blood distribution, there’s reasonable cause for wariness at any sign of a letup. A month’s lows might not sound imperative, but it’s not the sort of rationale that would click with someone awaiting triple bypass surgery or the amputation of a multi-appendage limb. And while it’s fortunate that The Daily Cougar’s average reader is not following along on an operating table, a preconceived distance from circumstances eliciting a transfusion, be it major or minor, is subject to the sort of lack of empathy resulting in a shortage.

To put it in perspective, imagine driving to work with only 54 percent of a functioning car engine. Or typing an essay with 7/12 of a keyboard, or enjoying lo mein with 8/20 of a chopstick. Nothing’s impossible, but they have to be at least a little unpleasant. And if the delicacies are crippled from scarcity, imagine the impact it could have on a living organism. Donating blood is important, and we need to pay more attention during times of urgency.

Fluctuations in the Red Cross’ stocks aren’t completely unheard of, the country’s blood stocks tend to mirror its stature as a whole, both politically and physically. Natural disasters don’t seem fruitful, nor do socioeconomic grievances. But in their basest sense, each and every factor is driven by human determinants. In the end, we’re the ones that choose to supply, and we’re the ones that choose not to. And if there’s any chance of reducing the shortage, we’ll have to become a little more adept at adopting shoes that aren’t our own.

Bryan Washington is a sociology sophomore and may be reached at [email protected]


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