The Late Late Show withdrew an offer of a segment on blood donation after the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) refused to have a donation undertaken in a TV studio. According to IBTS CEO Mr Andrew Kelly’s report to a board meeting in December, “The Late Late Show contacted us about doing a promotional piece live on air for the show on 14 December. The show is being recorded on 12 December. They wanted a donation taken live on air and we could not agree to this for a number of reasons and offered them [the opportunity] to film a donation in Stillorgan and the donor could appear on the show to walk people through the procedure.”
In the CEO’s report, obtained by the Medical Independent (MI) under Freedom of Information law, Mr Kelly added: “They also wanted some recipients on the show and this would have been no problem… Because we were not prepared to have a donation taken live, they have withdrawn the offer.”
Also in his report, Mr Kelly stated that the blood supply “has been difficult over the past number of weeks”.
The IBTS informed MI “we did not feel that asking a donor to donate live in a TV studio was appropriate”.
“It is a very warm environment, the risk [is] of the donor fainting or indeed a member of the audience fainting by the sight of a needle going into someone’s arm and the pack of blood in view.
“We did not want to put the donor in a position where the nurse might not be able to get a vein or the donor might fail the Hb test. It was not appropriate to put a staff member in that position of having to put a needle in a donor’s arm under such pressure.”
The IBTS spokesperson acknowledged that the show was to be pre-recorded but said “the same issues” would have arisen as in a technically live production, in regards to lights, heat, and pressure on the donor/nurse, etc. An RTÉ spokesperson said “we don’t comment on editorial decisions”.