About Our Blood Center
Thinking of Giving Blood?
For more info or to make an appointment, call 508-86BLOOD or 508-862-5663.
Hear from Constance Patten, director of the Cape Cod Healthcare Blood Bank.
What is the Cape Cod Blood Center?
It literally is the lifeblood for Hyannis and Falmouth Hospitals. Twenty-four hours a day, every day of the year, we meet the needs of our surgeons, emergency rooms, oncologists, pediatricians.
- We collect and store all the blood that arrives through local donations or by purchasing from off-Cape sources. We maintain the supply pipeline 24/7. We test all the blood for compatibility.
- Right next to our Blood Bank is our blood donor room.
- The Blood Center is the home of our blood laboratory that serves the entire Cape Cod Healthcare system.
- The Center also promotes blood education programs, especially in our local schools. Moving forward, the Center will manage our first-ever bloodmobile that will expand the capacity for blood drives across the Cape.
How many pints of blood are banked at any one time?
We bank about 240 units of red cells in Hyannis and another 100 in Falmouth. We need at least one week’s worth of blood on hand at all times. A single open heart surgery case could use four to six units. Each unit collected or purchased will last 42 days, so you can understand that it is a never-ending challenge to maintain sufficient supply.
How much blood comes from local donors and how much must you purchase?
We are able to collect about 35 percent of our required supply from local blood drives and the generosity of our Cape Cod donors. The rest must be purchased directly from our primary source, the Rhode Island Blood Bank, and from the American Red Cross. What is critical to understand is that it costs us financially every time we have to purchase a single unit from off-Cape sources. For rarer blood types or irradiated blood for cancer patients, the cost is much more. When a Cape Codder donates blood, it saves us hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
What is your goal for the Blood Bank in 2014?
To work around the clock to increase the percentage of blood donated by Cape Codders to as close to 100 percent as possible. That not only will save Cape Cod Healthcare money but also assure a constant supply of blood. When we rely on outside sources, we can be vulnerable because of supply shortages, especially during natural disasters.
How are you mobilizing to reach your goal?
We are very fortunate to have many organizations, houses of worship and businesses step up to host blood drives. We hope to expand the number of these critical drives this year through more intense outreach, hiring a recruiter, and providing hosts with powerful marketing and publicity tools. We will be educating Cape Codders about how important—and easy—it is to donate blood.
We also are launching an exciting fundraising campaign, working with many local service organizations, professional groups and businesses to purchase a bloodmobile that can travel across Cape Cod every day to draw blood.
Currently, our blood drives occur only in venues that can accommodate our beds and equipment. With a bloodmobile, many smaller organizations and businesses can sponsor drives. A bloodmobile will cost from $80,000 for a used vehicle that must be rehabilitated to as much as $300,000 for a new one, but its return on investment is incalculabe.