(VitalNews.org) – On Monday, the American Red Cross expressed concerns regarding a blood shortage. According to the American Red Cross, it is seeing the lowest number of donations in 20 years.
Unfortunately, hospitals are becoming inundated with a need for whole blood, red blood cells, plasma, and platelets faster than they are receiving donations. The Red Cross distributes about 40% of the nation’s blood donations, and with this emergency shortage, they’ve had to send blood to the most pressing cases, denying donations to some hospitals.
Dr. Eric Gehrie who is a medical director at the American Red Cross said that if hospitals don’t have enough blood, then those patients who need transfusions might have delays in their surgeries or care because of the lack of blood supply.
“There is more need for blood at hospitals than we are able to provide at current donation levels and this is an issue that is really … a long-term problem,” Dr. Gehrie said. He continued, “To put the numbers in perspective, we need an additional 8,000 donations every week in January in order to meet current hospital needs.” He stated that since the pandemic started there has been a reduction of 300,000 donors.
The Red Cross stated that things have changed since they previously received most of their blood donations from schools or businesses that would host blood drives. However, since the pandemic, things have really changed and those types of blood drives are no longer as popular, so they are scrambling to find donors.
The Red Cross expressed concerns multiple times over this blood donor drop, and even in January of 2022 during the COVID-19 pandemic the American Red Cross was seeing a “national blood crisis”, as many were not able to donate during the time.
Dr. Geherie also touched on the fact that some donors who might come in to donate are turned away due to their iron levels or some other interference, which can put a damper on planned donations for the Red Cross.
According to the American Red Cross, only 3% of people donate blood, which is about 6.8 million Americans, every year.
Public health experts are looking into ways to make blood donation more inclusive and therefore find different donors that may not have been reached before this.
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