LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s not unusual for the Red Cross to see a drop in blood donations over the summer months, but this year they’re dealing with a double whammy.
A spokesperson for the American Red Cross says this isn’t just an issue here in Michigan, but it’s across the country.
“The number of trauma cases, organ transplants, and elective surgeries have been on the rise that has ultimately depleted the nation’s blood inventory,” said Todd Kulman, regional communications manager for the American Red Cross.
And with procedures up and summer donations down, Todd Kulman says they aren’t able to give hospitals their normal four-to-five-day supply.
“A lot of those hospitals now are starting to restart those elective surgeries that were put on hold last year during the pandemic,” said Kulman.
Kulman says there’s an emergency need for type o negative blood, right now they can only help hospitals in need with a half a day of supply.
“Type o negative as you know is the universal blood type and can be transfused into any patient as you know regardless of their blood type,” he said.
“Also platelets, which are used to assist cancer patients, premature babies that sort of thing.”
Kulman says it’s normal to see a shortage during the summer, but this year has the added challenge of being post-pandemic.
“Colleges, universities, high schools that host a lot of our blood drives are on summer break. So when you combine that with what I mentioned earlier as far as the increase in trauma patients and elective surgeries, it really is kind of the perfect storm for us to be experiencing a blood shortage,” said Kulman.
While officials at Sparrow say they have enough blood for now, they say getting donations back up is very important.
“You never know who is going to need that life-saving blood donation. Again, it could be a family member, it could be a relative, could be a friend, could be a next-door neighbor.”