Flight paramedic Brad Harper stocks blood and blood products on board AirCare 1 as it waits at the Mississippi Center for Emergency Services to be dispatched on its next call.
Flight paramedic Brad Harper stocks blood and blood products on board AirCare 1 as it waits at the Mississippi Center for Emergency Services to be dispatched on its next call.
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‘You Give It, We Bring It’ seeks blood donations to boost supplies in rural MS

By: Ruth Cummins

The University of Mississippi Medical Center and the state’s largest blood provider are partnering on a three-month drive targeting all residents, but especially donors in the rural communities where blood is routinely in short supply.

UMMC’s Mississippi Center for Emergency Services, MCES for short, and Mississippi Blood Services, the center that supplies most Mississippi hospitals with safe, voluntarily donated blood and blood components, are asking for the public’s help in making sure Mississippians most in need receive that life-saving care through the “You Give It, We Bring It” blood drive.

Damon Darsey

The goal: 580 units of donated blood, and “we’re sitting on about 125,” said Dr. Damon Darsey, professor of emergency medicine and MCES medical director. “We want to bring awareness to the need for blood in Mississippi’s rural areas. We need Mississippians to come out and donate during this special drive.”

Every year, UMMC ‘s AirCare medical helicopter transport infuses more than 425 units of blood to critically ill or injured people, many victims of traumatic accidents in the state’s rural corners. AirCare is part of MCES.

In addition to the main MBS center, 115 Tree St. in Flowood, the June drive dates and locations include:

  • Monday, June 21: MedStat EMS with First Franklin Financial, 616 North Applegate St., Winona, 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Tuesday, June 22: Warren County Courthouse, 1803 Grove St., Vicksburg, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; MedStat EMS with First Franklin Financial, 1224 Sunset Drive, Grenada, 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Wednesday, June 23: MedStat EMS with Community Bank, 147 Highway 82 East, Indianola, 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; Simpson County Emergency Management Agency with Magee General Hospital, 300 Third Ave. SE , Magee, 11 a.m-4 p.m.
  • Tuesday, June 29: Jasper County Emergency Management Agency, 37-D Eighth Ave., Bay Springs, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

To credit a donation toward this effort, give MBS the code EB66 or the code words “helicopter” or “AirCare.” Walk-ins are always welcome at MBS drives, but for those who wish to make an appointment, go here. Donors will receive a “You Give It – We Bring It” T-shirt.

“Maintaining a healthy blood supply is crucial to Mississippi patients’ welfare,” said Tammy Walters, MBS marketing


AirCare transfuses more than 425 units of blood annually, but needs residents to give it so that they can bring it to critically ill and injured Mississipians.

representative and team leader. “By donating blood, you ensure that this vital resource is available when you need it.”

AirCare transfuses the significant majority of blood and blood products flown by medical air transports operating in Mississippi, said Merle Eldridge, MBS’ director of donor recruitment and mobile collections.

Although some rural patients end up receiving treatment at larger Mississippi hospitals, many will get emergency care in their own community or small town – or delivered by AirCare critical care paramedics and flight nurses on the side of the road or en route to a hospital large or small, Darsey said.

A steady supply of blood helps to ensure AirCare’s critical care teams can consistently deliver medical care requiring transfusions, For some critically ill patients who are hemorrhaging, that could mean multiple units of blood.

“We want to remind people that 45 units of blood were used for patients on the side of the road in Warren County last year,” Darsey said. “We want residents to donate for their own people, in their own communities.”

For information about scheduling a blood drive, contact Walters at 601-573-1664 or twalters@msblood.com