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Red Cross announces first-ever national blood crisis

"There's just a dangerously low supply of blood levels and they're posing a risk to patients and forcing doctors to make difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait for more blood products to become available," said Evan Woods who works with the American Red Cross.

Posted: Jan 12, 2022 4:40 PM
Updated: Jan 13, 2022 8:53 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The American Red Cross has declared a national blood shortage for the first time in a decade.

The national crisis is forcing doctors nationwide to decide who gets blood and who has to wait.

"There's just a dangerously low supply of blood levels and they're posing a risk to patients and forcing doctors to make difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait for more blood products to become available," said Evan Woods who works with the American Red Cross.

Currently, hospitals have a one-day blood supply. The Red Cross serves 40 percent of hospitals in America. Woods said they would like to see it at a five-day supply, a number they haven't seen since before the pandemic, directly affecting patients.

"A lot of that is cancer patients, sickle cell patients need regular blood transfusions," said Woods. "But then we also have a lot pf people who come to hospitals with mass traumas, so that could be a car accident, a mother having complications at birth where they need a lot of units of blood."

And patients like Will Walker from Savannah, Mo., many followed his story of fighting cancer, losing the battle in November of 2021. His life, and so many like him depend on blood transfusions.

"Will battled with synovial-sarcoma and as a part of his treatment, he received blood transfusions," said Woods.

COVID-19 is one of many reasons why the Red Cross declared the first ever crisis, resulting in schools across the nation to cancel annual blood drives, a 62 percent drop since the pandemic began according to the Red Cross.

Additionally, a 10 percent decline is taking place in the number of people donating, the Red Cross said in a news release.

The Red Cross announced incentives for future donors to help with the crisis.

Individuals who donate blood until January 31 with the Red Cross will be entered into a Super Bowl LVI drawing with the change to win tickets. During the entire month of February, each person who donates will receive a $10 Amazon gift card.

On February 7, the Red Cross is hosting a blood drive at the East Hills Shopping Center in memory of Will Walker. February 7 is his birthday.

To find locations to donate with the Red Cross, click here.

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