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First national blood crisis, says Red Cross

Hospitals are struggling to treat patients as blood drives are at an all-time low

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American Red Cross Disaster Relief team members.

American Red Cross Disaster Relief team members are seen outside the apartment building which suffered the city’s deadliest fire in three decades, in the Bronx borough of New York on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022.

Yuki Iwamura, Associated Press

The American Red Cross said it’s facing its worst blood shortage in more than a decade.

This national shortage is forcing doctors to make tough decisions about blood transfusions, who receives them and who will have to wait until more is available, the organization said in a statement.

Some hospitals may not receive 1 in 4 blood products they need as the Red Cross, which supplies 40% of the nation’s blood supply, has had “less than a one-day supply of critical blood types in recent weeks.”

“While some types of medical care can wait, others can’t,” said Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer of the Red Cross, per Michigan Live.

  • “Hospitals are still seeing accident victims, cancer patients, those with blood disorders like sickle cell disease, and individuals who are seriously ill who all need blood transfusions to live even as omicron cases surge across the country. We’re doing everything we can to increase blood donations to ensure every patient can receive medical treatments without delay, but we cannot do it without more donors. We need the help of the American people.”

The Red Cross said that blood drives at schools and colleges have seen a 62% drop. “Winter weather across the country and the recent surge of COVID-19 cases are compounding the already-dire situation facing the blood supply,” said Baia Lasky, medical director for the Red Cross, according to The Hill.

They urged the public to make an appointment to donate blood — especially if your blood type is O.