Critical blood shortage declared, blood drive set for June 22

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Vitalant

There is currently a critical blood shortage. 

Nonprofit blood services provider Vitalant is alerting the public to help reverse a critical blood shortage by making an appointment to give. Donors of all blood types are needed.

With the number of new donors down sharply by 12 percent year over year, new donors and those who haven’t given in a while are especially needed. There is a critical need for donors with the most transfused blood type, O, which has recently dipped to about half of the desired four-day supply.

“Whether it’s a baby in the neonatal ICU, a trauma patient with an unknown blood type, or a patient receiving a stem cell transplant, we rely on O-negative red cell units being readily available to provide safe blood transfusions for our patents,” said Dr. Mary Berg, professor of clinical practice in pathology and medical director for transfusion services at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital.

Platelet donors are also critically needed because of the short shelf life of platelets. Platelets must be used within a week of donation.

“Every time you donate, you help ensure a patient’s lifesaving treatment doesn’t have to be put on hold,” said Dr. Ralph Vassallo, Vitalant chief medical and scientific officer. “When patient needs consistently outpace donors scheduling appointments, chances are higher a leukemia patient won’t be able to get their regular transfusion, or a transplant recipient will have their surgery delayed.”

In April and May, Vitalant collected nearly 3,000 fewer blood donations in Colorado and about 13,000 fewer nationwide compared to the year prior. 

If AAA Memorial Day travel forecasts were any indication, rebounding to 92 percent of pre-pandemic levels, as schools let out for the summer, the number of available donors could drop even lower in the coming weeks.

In addition to helping patients, new blood donors can learn their preliminary blood type during their first visit. Other added benefits of donating blood are a mini-physical and full panel of tests each donor receives. The mini-physical check of pulse, blood pressure, hemoglobin and cholesterol can be tracked with each visit in the donor’s secure and confidential online account.

You can make an appointment for blood donations at the Vitalant Centerpoint Church Blood Drive at 2750 Cornerstone Drive on June 22 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Go to Vitalant.com to schedule your appointment or contact Diane Levison via text at (602) 770-6565 or via email at dianeunheard@gmail.com if you need help. 

Walk-ins are always welcome, so please pass this on to your friends and family in case they’d like to donate also, but don’t want to commit to an appointment. Walk-in donations may take a bit more time as appointments take preference.