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Penn State Health Employees Roll Up Their Sleeves to Donate Blood

A coordinated effort to educate staff about the need for blood donations has had a positive impact at Penn State Health St. Joseph, where appointments for Thursday’s employee blood drive were filled within a few short hours.

“The staff has been unbelievable,” says Cheryl Gipe, blood bank manager. “They are reaching out. They want to help.”

Although social distancing requirements meant there were less appointments available, 36 donors still stepped up to the plate, in addition to a few extra who were able to fill last-minute cancellations.

“I want to thank everyone for the cooperation and teamwork that I am seeing,” Gipe says. “Everyone has just been great. It’s helping us to help the patients.”

While responding to a blood donation shortage during a pandemic is new territory, Gipe believes they are making a difference with the proactive measures currently underway.

“Most of our elective surgeries have been postponed, and we’re not using as many blood products. Our physicians are taking an active approach in monitoring their patients closely and only transfusing when it is absolutely necessary. That is helping us to conserve our current blood supply,” she says. “We are a team working together to do what’s best for our patients.”

We Still Need Your Help

Because the blood shortage is expected to grow in the weeks ahead, St. Joseph employees wanting to donate can make an appointment at the local Miller-Keystone Blood Center on Leiscz’s Bridge Road (GPS: 1047 Old Bernville Road, Reading) and donate under group 3199. Call 800-486-2566 to make an appointment.


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