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Red Cross reports ‘severe blood shortage’ as hospital demand increases

(KWCH)
Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 4:38 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The American Red Cross reports experiencing a severe blood shortage “as the number of trauma cases, organ transplants and elective surgeries rise – and deplete the nation’s blood inventory.” The organization urges all blood types - especially type O and those giving platelets - to make an appointment as soon as possible.

Donors can schedule appointments by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

The Red Cross says hospitals are responding to a higher-than-normal number of traumas and emergency room visits, as well as overdoses and resulting transplants. Compared to 2019, the Red Cross reports seeing a demand from trauma centers climb by 10 percent in 2021, more than five times the growth of other facilities that provide blood transfusions

“In addition to trauma needs, there is a great hospital demand for blood as people who deferred care during the height of the pandemic present with more advanced disease progression, requiring increased blood transfusions,” the Red Cross reports. “Over the last three months, the Red Cross has distributed about 75,000 more blood products than expected to meet these needs. As a result of this shortage, some hospitals are being forced to slow the pace of elective surgeries until the blood supply stabilizes. Blood is perishable and cannot be stockpiled, so it must constantly be replenished by generous blood donors.”

An event Tuesday, June 15 at the Wichita Blood Donation Center at 707 N. Main Street will feature spokespersons from the Red Cross, Wesley Medical Center and Ascension Via Christi providing further information on the need for blood and scheduling appointments. The event starts at 11 a.m. To RSVP, email Brittney.rochell@redcross.org.

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