CHICAGO, IL – The Chicago River has been dyed green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day every year since 1962. Borrowing the idea to bring Irish pride and cheer to hospitalized patients, blood banks across the country for the first time dyed their blood green this weekend. Yes, that’s right: green blood. Call it the start of a brand new tradition.
“If they can dye a whole river green, why not blood?” asked American Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern, who partnered with local Chicago authorities to learn how make the green blood possible. “In the same way the dye is environmentally friendly to the Chicago River, so is the dye in our blood. It looks funny but don’t worry it won’t make you feel funny. If anything, it’ll make you feel better.”
According to McGovern, it takes only an extra minute or two to introduce the dye and turn any blood type green.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention wants to reassure patients that the green blood, like red blood, is screened for certain infectious disease pathogens such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, syphilis, and West Nile Virus.
“We also want to reassure patients that it is actual blood, not phlegm, not mucous, not bile, not that slime from You Can’t Do That on Television, and definitely not Pseudomonas,” explained Martin Grable, President of America’s Blood Centers, the largest network of non-profit blood centers in North America.
The green blood has been a hit among patients, who not only feel better after the transfusion but have now replaced their pallor with a healthy greenish glow.
“It will turn your urine and poop green for a little while too,” explained patient Erin O’Riley, “but come on, it’s St. Patty’s Day! If you’re gonna go green, you go green 100%. Now what are the chances someone can get me a Guinness instead of Ativan?”