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Red Cross: Emergency Blood Shortage May Delay Medical Procedures

Donors urged to give now as nation faces lowest number of blood donors in decades

Donors have the chance to help save lives, win trip to Super Bowl LVIII

 

TYLER, TEXAS – JAN. 10, 2024 — The American Red Cross is experiencing an emergency blood shortage as the nation faces the lowest number of people giving blood in 20 years. The Red Cross blood supply has fallen to critically low levels across the country, and blood and platelet donors are urged to make a donation appointment to help alleviate the shortage and help ensure lifesaving medical procedures are not put on hold.

 

Over the last 20 years, the number of people donating blood to the Red Cross has fallen by about 40%. When fewer people donate blood, even small disruptions to blood donations – such as the nearly 7,000-unit shortfall in blood donations the Red Cross experienced between Christmas and New Year’s Day alone – can have a huge impact on the availability of blood products and dramatic consequences for those in need of emergency blood transfusion. Blood products are currently going to hospitals faster than blood donations are coming in, and in recent weeks, the Red Cross has had to limit distributions of type O blood products – among the most transfused blood types – to hospitals.

 

“Small changes in blood donor turnout can have a huge impact on the availability of blood products and dramatic consequences for those in need of an emergency blood transfusion,” said Dr. Eric Gehrie, executive physician director for the Red Cross. “More challenges may lie ahead as the potential for severe winter weather and seasonal illness may compound the dire blood supply situation. Donors of all types – especially those with type O blood and those giving platelets – are urged to give now.”

 

The Red Cross and the National Football League (NFL) are partnering this January, during National Blood Donor Month, to urge individuals to give blood or platelets and help tackle the emergency blood shortage. Those who come to give blood, platelets or plasma in January will automatically be entered for a chance to win a trip for two to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. For details, visit RedCrossBlood.org/Super Bowl.

 

Who donations help
North Texas Red Crosser Alison Heidle, who works to find blood drive hosts and donors, knows firsthand how vital a readily available blood supply is. At 18 years old, two weeks from going to college, Heidle was involved in a car crash. Heidle’s injuries required 25 units of blood and immediate surgery to save her life. “Giving blood is such a compassionate human thing and a gift. You can’t manufacture it or buy it in a store. You must rely on the goodness of other people. It binds us all together,” Heidle said as she shared the importance of donating blood. After three months in the ICU, she left stronger.

 

Don’t wait – to make an appointment, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

 

Upcoming blood donation opportunities in East Texas Jan. 17 – 20:

 

Gregg County
1/18/2024: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Broughton Recreation Center – Gym, 801 S Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Longview, TX 75602

Panola County
1/17/2024: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., In Memory of local Deputy Sheriff Chris Dickerson – Texas Country Music Hall of Fame – Main Room, 310 W. Panola St. Carthage, TX 75633

Smith County
1/19/2024: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., American Red Cross Tyler Chapter – Multi-Purpose Room, 320 E. Rieck Rd. Tyler, TX 75703
1/20/2024: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., In Memory of Jessie McLendon – North Tenneha Church of Christ, 1701 N Tenneha Avenue, Tyler, TX, 75702

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or follow us on social media.

 

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