Blood donation shortage worries hospitals, Red Cross


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The summer brought a worry about a blood donation shortage as hospitals prepared for hurricane season. But one member of the American Red Cross said that a usually slow time for donations is being made worse by those cancellations.

 “We’ve been in this blood shortage for the past month. You know, thousands have rallied and answered the call to give blood donations to our patients in need. But the fact remains that hospital demand is strong,” said Tony Gerheiser, an account manager for the American Red Cross.

He said this time of year blood donations typically slow down but due to recent blood drive cancellations because of a lack in employees that are able to work these drives. That along with the lack of donors have lead to donations hitting a concerning low. Dr. Mitch Moosavi with Sparrow Health System said the shortage is also hitting them.

“Not only do we have these seasonal ebbs and flows, there has been quite a bit of stress on donors themselves, on the Red Cross and their logistical systems as well as the challenges we see in our hospitals,” he said.

Dr. Moosavi said that the hospital is struggling with blood platelets due to short shelf life for samples.
They’re also having a hard time getting type o blood that’s usually used in trauma patients and surgeries.
he said the shortage is hurting smaller communities too.

“They are seeing more patients. More patients with challenging conditions and they are also subject to the limited inventory we have in a number of areas but particularly in blood products,” he said.

With the clock ticking to keep hospitals stocked, Gerheiser says the Red Cross is incentivizing donors with $10 Amazon gift cards. The partnership with the company even includes a chance for donors to win a trip to Hawaii. It’s one strategy in the fight to close the gap in the shortage.

“We need to collect an additional 10,000 units each week to meet hospital demand. And so we’re unfortunately we’re going to be in that emergency need until we’re at the point where we can met that hospital demand,” Gerheiser said.

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