Surgeries In Peril Because Of National Blood Shortage

SMS
Surgeries In Peril Because Of National Blood Shortage
The American Red Cross is sending out a plea for help as the national blood supply hits a 10-year low.

The American Red Cross is sending out a plea for help as the national blood supply hits a 10-year low.  

Dr. Baia Lasky of the American Red Cross says the national blood shortage is "very severe," and seasonal illnesses, rising COVID cases and holidays threaten to make the shortage even worse. 

"We are sometimes at less than a half-day's supply for certain blood types and really, the blood is leaving our shelves as fast as we can collect it," Lasky said. 

Some hospital leaders are worried patients will start feeling the pain. Dr. Kristin Mekeel, a general surgeon at UC San Diego Health, said, "There is a possibility, if our blood Type O levels get so low, that we would have to cancel elective surgeries."

She warned that the hospital tries to keep 80-90 units of blood on standby, but is now short, and that a single trauma patient can consume 100 units. 

"[We're] just trying to keep enough blood on the shelf in case one of those emergency cases such as a trauma or childbirth or other medical bleeding came in so we would have blood available to give patients," she said. 

You can give blood if you're at least 17 years old.  Some states allow 16-year-olds to give blood with a parent's consent. You must also weigh at least 110 pounds and have an FDA-approved COVID vaccine. Plus, you can't donate more than once every 56 days or more than six times a year.