Huffman doubles down with milestone donation

DAYTON — State Sen. Steve Huffman from Tipp City doubled down with his milestone 75th lifetime donation April 9 at the Dayton CBC. By making a double red blood cell donation, Dr. Huffman jumped from 74 to 76 lifetime donations in a single visit.

Sen. Huffman is an emergency room physician and a leading advocate for blood donations. He introduced the legislation for January Ohio Blood Donor Awareness Month while serving as state representative for the 80th district. He was chair of the House Health Committee and enlisted the support of CBC to give proponent testimony before the House and Senate committees. He now represents the 5th Senate District and serves as chair of the Senate Health Committee.

Ohio Blood Donor Awareness Month became law in 2018 and was first observed in January 2019. America’s Blood Centers honored Steve with the 2018 Larry Frederick Award for his leadership in raising statewide awareness about blood donations.

His advocacy for CBC included support for the “Make Mine a Double” campaign when CBC expanded automated double red blood cell donations at mobile blood drives and the Dayton CBC. Double red cell donations help avoid shortages by doubling the red cells available for surgeries and emergencies.

Double red cell donations use an automated system and the procedure takes slightly longer than a single whole blood donation. Sen. Huffman completed his donation in about 25 minutes.

Double red cell donations have been routine for Huffman because he is an ideal donor. He is a universal donor because his type O negative blood can be transfused to any patient in need. He is also a “baby donor” because he is negative to the common Cytomegalovirus. Hospitals prefer CMV-negative blood to treat babies and children with vulnerable immune systems.

“It’s a time saver,” he said, because the double red cell deferment period before again being eligible to donate is doubled from 56 days to 112 days. “I can come in and expand it from eight weeks to 16 weeks, and I’m looking at a busy schedule over the summer.”

Summers are traditionally busy in emergency medicine. That changed during the pandemic when there was less summer travel, but he anticipates a return to a pre-pandemic pace.

“Trauma season is coming,” he said. “A lot of things will be getting back to normal.”