Red Cross Declares Critical Blood Shortage Crisis

Red Cross Declares Critical Blood Shortage Crisis

The American Red Cross says the country is in an emergency blood shortage and is appealing to people to donate now to improve supplies.

“One of the most distressing situations for a doctor is to have a hospital full of patients and an empty refrigerator without any blood products,” said Pampee Young, MD and chief medical officer of the Red Cross, the nation’s largest blood supplier. “A person needs lifesaving blood every two seconds in our country — and its availability can be the difference between life and death, however, blood is only available thanks to the generosity of those who roll up a sleeve to donate.”

The Red Cross says fewer people are donating than in the last 20 years. The number of donors has fallen by 40% in the last two decades, and blood and platelet donations are needed now, the organization said in a press release.

“Additional challenges lie ahead as winter weather and seasonal respiratory illnesses like the flu and COVID-19 may affect future donor turnout compounding the dire blood supply situation that the nation currently faces,” the release says.

CNN reported that it seems there’s not enough blood to meet demand. It said data from the national organization America’s Blood Centers indicates that at least 17 community blood centers have a one-day supply or less.

Donations were short almost 7,000 units between Christmas and New Year’s Day, the Red Cross said. One unit is about a pint, the amount collected during a typical donation. Experts estimate that a single car accident victim can require as many as 100 units of blood.

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