NEWS & ANALYSIS

Red Cross Warns of National Blood Crisis


The American Red Cross warned this week that it’s facing a “national blood crisis.” 

The organization, which gives 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply,  said its “worst blood shortage in over a decade” is “posing a concerning risk to patient care” and that doctors have been “forced to make difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait until more products become available.” 

“Blood and platelet donations are critically needed to help prevent further delays in vital medical treatments,” the statement continued. 

The factors contributing to the crisis include a 10 percent decline in overall donation turnout since March 2020; a 62 percent drop in college and high school blood drives due to the pandemic; ongoing blood drive cancellations because of illness, staffing limitations and inclement weather; and a spike in COVID-19 and flu cases that “may compound the already bad situation,” Fox News reports

“At a time when many businesses and organizations across the country are experiencing pandemic challenges, the Red Cross is no different. We are all learning how to live in this new environment, how we spend our time, where we work, how we give back, how we make a difference in the lives of others – donating blood must continue to be a part of it,” the Red Cross wrote. 

“While some types of medical care can wait, others can’t,” Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer of the Red Cross, said in a statement. “Hospitals are still seeing accident victims, cancer patients, those with blood disorders like sickle cell disease, and individuals who are seriously ill who all need blood transfusions to live even as omicron cases surge across the country. We’re doing everything we can to increase blood donations to ensure every patient can receive medical treatments without delay, but we cannot do it without more donors. We need the help of the American people.” 

The organization said that there has been less than a one-day supply of critical blood types over the last few weeks.