The winter months can present some challenges for blood donations in Manitoba. Dr. Denis Fortier, Vice-President of Medical Services for Southern Health-Santé Sud, says fluctuations in blood supplies in Canada are caused by a lot of different things---including having a long weekend or over the Christmas and Boxing Day holidays when people are visiting with family as opposed to donating blood. Fortier notes the blood supply can be quickly drained if there's a fairly significant event that causes quite a bit of trauma in a particular city, adding bad weather or snowstorms can also cause a drop in the supply if people are stuck at home for several days. He says the blood supply is never really static or stable in the sense that there's always blood going out and they hope there will always be blood coming in.
Fortier notes supply issues are a little bit less concerning in our region because Southern Health-Santé Sud doesn't do the level of trauma surgery that Winnipeg sees and there are also more births in Winnipeg than in rural centres. He adds in terms of sheer numbers, our region certainly does a lot fewer transfusions than they do in the city. fortier says Southern Health keeps stored blood in many of their sites for emergencies but notes they have different products they can use in surgeries where they know there is the potential for excessive bleeding. He says that usually prevents them having to give a blood transfusion, and by reducing the amount of blood they use in this region it puts less stress on the demand for Canadian Blood Services' supplies. Fortier adds blood donations can save lives, so he would strongly encourage everyone who can donate to consider doing so in 2017.