My name is Melissa McMillan and I'm with America's Blood Centers. And I just wanted to comment a little bit about some of the things that Dr. Davey mentioned. America's Blood Centers is the association of all the independent community blood centers.
And also, like the American Red Cross, we do collect about half of the nation's blood supply. We work with about 3,100 different hospitals and serve about 125 million people annually. I think some of the things that we've heard today -- we've heard a lot of scientific data.
A lot of the things I'm about to tell you are based upon conversations with the communication structures and our members who are located in 46 states, and also based upon some of the shortage surveys that we conduct to try and monitor the status of the blood supply during our tradition shortage periods which are, like we've discussed, the summertime and the wintertime.
We have had several members tell us that, even as of last summer, their transfusion rates increased not just the 3.7 percent we heard today, but 15 percent. Another center in Florida said that their transfusion rates increased last summer by 20 percent.
Now, if you take it nationwide, you do have a much lower average; but these people are -- and the donor recruiters are spending an increased amount of time and money to bring in donors when their transfusion rates are soaring far beyond the expectations of the recruitment goals that they set based on a typical need.
Now, this is something we need to look at. There are a lot of things that we need to, you know, think about. And some of this data we don't have. For instance, what are these transfusions being used for, what types of surgeries?
This data is not readily available, but it could give us an incidence as to what are the types of people that need surgeries and maybe also give us some sort of correlation among the people who are donating.
For instance, we have liver transplants on the rise. With an aging population, we're going to have an increase in the number of knee and hip replacements. These surgeries require a lot of blood.
Now, I've had many reporters over the years ask me, "Has anybody ever died from a lack of blood?" The answer is no. But do we want to take a chance in saying that? We have to possibly say yes if we defer a percentage of the population who are good donors.
I just think it's something we need to think about.
CHAIRMAN BROWN: Is there anyone else in the room who would like to make a comment?
Yes, middle of the room, left-hand side.
MS. SULLIVAN: Thank you.