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Local hospitals react to the severe blood shortage the American Red Cross is experiencing

The search is on for more blood donors as the American Red Cross is experiencing a severe blood shortage.
Posted at 5:55 PM, Jun 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-24 17:55:31-04

LANSING, Mich. — The search is on for blood donors as the American Red Cross is experiencing a severe blood shortage.

A big reason for the blood shortage is due to the rise of trauma patients, organ transplants, and elective surgeries.

A big reason for the blood shortage is due to the rise of trauma patients, organ transplants, and elective surgeries.

"That's the case here in mid-Michigan, and that's the case across the nation," said the regional communication manager for the American Red Cross Todd Kulman. "You may recall back when the pandemic started, many hospitals were deferring some of those elective surgeries. Now, as the vaccine is kind of becoming more readily available, those elective surgeries are resuming."

Donating blood
Donating blood

Dean Cornell, the laboratory manager for McLaren Greater Lansing Hospital says the blood supply is currently adequate.

Dean Cornell, the laboratory manager for McLaren Greater Lansing Hospital says the blood supply is currently adequate.

"We're working very closely on a daily basis with Red Cross to ensure that we have what we need to take care of our patients," Cornell said. "We're part of McLaren health care, there's a lot of resources there for us to pull on."

The medical director for Sparrow Laboratories, James Richard, says they're doing okay right now, too.

The medical director for Sparrow Laboratories, James Richard, says they're doing okay right now, too.

"The impact hits the community whenever there is a high demand for blood. We're a level one trauma center, and that can be a challenge. Not so much for the immediate need because usually, we're able to handle that. It's the impact that could have on tomorrow's need. And that's really where donations really come into play. Being able to supply that reserve, keep it available," Richard said.

Giving back by donating blood
Giving back by donating blood

Richard said there was a weekend not too long ago where they made a request, and the Red Cross couldn't give them all that they asked for because they didn't have it available.

Richard said there was a weekend not too long ago where they made a request, and the Red Cross couldn't give them all that they asked for because they didn't have it available.

"We still had adequate supplies to take care of the patients, but at the same token, it gets a little bit nerve-racking whenever you're so used to see it coming in the door, used to seeing your order build," Richard said.

American Red Cross blood donations
American Red Cross blood donations

Katie Kiter lives in Dewitt and she started donating blood when she was about 18 and continues to do so because she recognizes how important and easy it is. With the blood supply shortage, Kiter said it has encouraged her to be more vocal about her blood donations.

"Just getting the word out that I'm donating and, you know, happy to answer questions for others that donate. I wish I could donate more often," Kiter said.

Katie Kiter .jpeg
Katie Kiter is donating blood.

Kulman said all blood types are needed especially type O.

According to American Red Cross's website, the need for O negative is the highest in demand because it's used most often during emergencies.

Only 7 percent of the nation's population are O negative.

There is also a demand for O positive because it's the most common blood type. It accounts for 37 percent of the nation's population.

For more information about how to donate click here.

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Erica Murphy

Erica Murphy

1:21 PM, Mar 03, 2021

Your Neighborhood Reporter

Erica Murphy

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