Why don’t more blacks donate blood? It’s just one of those hard to get to the root of sort of things. Even though sickle cell disease impacts mostly African Americans, and blood donations are life saving treatments for the disease, most blacks don’t give blood.
Doctor Jessica Bell, a pediatric hematologist oncologist at Presbyterian Hospital, says blood transfusions help treat the anemia crisis of sickle cell and other complications. According to Dr Bell, some patients “are on chronic transfusion programs to help prevent crisis from returning so it’s absolutely a lifesaving treatment we’re very dependent on.”
Patients with sickle cell disease need blood similar to theirs. Since most patients tend to be African American, they need other African Americans to donate blood. Community workers say they’re having a hard time getting African Americans to give blood.
Sadie Jordan, with Community Health Intervention – A Sickle Cell Agency, said “we have less than one percent of the African American minority community donating blood.”
Maybe the history of the Tuskegee experiment and other instances where white researchers treated blacks as lab rats has taken its toll, and made us paranoid of hospitals. There is no way to know for sure. What we do know, however, is that people with sickle cells need other African-Americans to step up to the plate and donate blood. One thing this recession has proved is that we can’t depend on anyone but ourselves. Having said that, it’s probably time to increase blood drives in African-American communities.