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American Red Cross Declares National Blood Crisis

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The American Red Cross declared a National Blood Crisis for the first time in its history, as their inventory is at an all-time low.

“We just need blood, we need to get it to hospitals and to patients that need it,” said American Red Cross Regional Communications Director Meghan Lehman. “Anyone that can give blood at this point, or has never given blood, might consider it. This is the time to go out and donate blood.”

Lehman says this is the lowest their inventory has been in more than a decade.

“It’s really critical,” she said. “It’s forcing hospitals to make critical decisions about what patients get blood.”

Those hospitals are feeling the effects of the shortage.

“Right now we’re facing a critical shortage of blood,” said University of Michigan Medicine Blood Bank Director Robertson Davenport. “There are many reasons why patients may need blood, including transplants, major surgery, trauma, cancer.”

The Red Cross says the pandemic played a huge factor in the shortage.

“Through the pandemic, we’ve had about 10% less people coming out to donate blood,” said Lehman. “We’ve also had drives cancelled, especially drives at schools and businesses that weren’t open.”

Even now, with rising cases, Lehman says the Red Cross is at risk of having less donors.

“This is been something we have been dealing with, and unfortunately it’s gotten worse over the last several months to now where we’re in a crisis situation,” she said.

Medical professionals are pleading for help.

“The shortage is nationwide, and we need every donor to give as soon as they can,” said Davenport. “Your blood could help save several lives within days of your donation.”

And the Red Cross says it doesn’t matter where you give blood, it’s just important now, if you’re eligible, to give blood.

“We need appointments filled today and we need them filled in two weeks with the Red Cross or another organization,” said Lehman. “If there’s other blood collection agencies out there in Northern Michigan, if you donate blood to them, you’re making a big difference, as well.”