American Red Cross facing national blood shortage

American Red Cross facing national blood shortage
Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 1:48 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The American Red Cross is experiencing a national blood shortage and donors of all blood types are urgently needed.

The American Red Cross said between having fewer donors this summer than needed and Hurricane Idalia slamming the southeast, they’re now dealing with a shortfall of 30,000 blood and platelet donations.

“There’s 2,500 hospitals that are not getting blood right now due to the shortage,” said Lynne Washbish, the Executive Director of the American Red Cross Bluegrass Area Chapter.

Washbish said they need to collect about 12,500 blood donations every day to meet the patients’ needs across the nation.

“Without blood, people won’t survive. They need it in the hospitals, and they need it for any type of transfusions like sickle cell, cancer, anything like that,” said Washbish.

When Hurricane Idalia hit, Washbish said they were forced to cancel more than a dozen blood drives. This meant hundreds of blood and platelet donations went uncollected.

“Right now, we need to collect as much blood as we can,” said Washbish.

Washbish said the summer months do make it difficult to keep the shelves full. The Red Cross reports that their national blood supply has fallen by about 25% since early August.

“Vacations, schools back in session, all kinds of things are taken into consideration for drives getting canceled,” said Washbish.

The Red Cross said all blood types are needed, but there is an emergency need for platelet donors and type O blood donors.

“We never know when a disaster is going to hit. It’s just really important to be prepared. It’s a great way to help give back and save lives,” said Washbish.

It’s also sickle cell awareness month, and Washbish said people with sickle cell disease may depend on frequent blood transfusions. She said they’re hosting several drives this month with hopes of replenishing the supply.

“September 15th and 16th. One is at St. Peter Claver, and one is at Consolidated Baptist. The drives are filling up quick, and it’s just a really good need right now,” said Washbish.

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