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Red Cross announces emergency blood shortage, calls on Americans to donate


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ABC News

The American Red Cross said Monday it is experiencing an emergency blood shortage.

According to the humanitarian organization, it is seeing the lowest number of people giving blood in 20 years.

Hospitals are currently receiving blood products -- including whole blood, red blood cells, plasma and platelets -- faster than donations are coming in, the Red Cross said in a release.

 

This means the Red Cross, which says it supplies about 40% of the nation's blood donations, has had to limit distributions of some of the most transfused blood types to hospitals.

Dr. Eric Gehrie, a medical director at the American Red Cross, said that when hospitals don't have a full blood bank, patients who need transfusions may have delays, surgeries may be rescheduled and it may result in more of a struggle for patients with rare blood types to find donors that match.

 

"There is more need for blood at hospitals than we are able to provide at current donation levels and this is an issue that is really ... a long-term problem," he told ABC News.

In addition to donor numbers dropping overall, Gehrie said that since the COVID-19 pandemic began in January 2020, there has been a reduction of 300,000 blood donors.

"To put the numbers in perspective, we need an additional 8,000 donations every week in January in order to meet current hospital need," he said.:snip:

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