It’s a telling sign that the first words out of longtime blood donor Gary Wiseman’s mouth when asked about the Canadian Blood Services recent call for donations was, “Isn’t it ridiculous?”
Wiseman, of Corner Brook, donated almost 200 times over 30 years before the city clinic closed in May of 2015. The only way to donate now, he said, is to go to St. John’s and that’s not something you typically think about if you’re out east on vacation.
“Not only the inconvenience of it,” he said. “But if you don’t know St. John’s, you don’t know where to go.”
Earlier this month, the national agency announced more than 22,000 donors were urgently needed across Canada by Aug. 26 to ensure the national blood inventory could meet patient needs for the rest of the summer.
The Corner Brook clinic was one of three permanent clinics to close nationally in 2015, with the clinics in Sydney, N.S. and Prince George, B.C. also shutting down.
“I think it just proves that they made a mistake,” he said. “It’s a simple as that.”
He said he actually finds it really surprising they would even come out and ask for donors after “closing down everything,” while also citing a recent CBC report of pharmacist Janice Audeau’s frustration with attempting to organize a mobile blood clinic in the city, only to be denied by the national agency because it would be too expensive.
He doesn’t believe much thought was put into closing down the Corner Brook location back then, when they were filling their quota and even doing well with the mobile units, especially, he said, in Port aux Basques.
“I think it’s all down to dollars and cents,” he said. “But what price do you put on a life?”