Blood supply lowest in a decade, Red Cross says
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Red Cross has its lowest blood supply in more than a decade, according to the organization, and the need is high following the deadly tornadoes in Western Kentucky. The Red Cross described the supply as “dangerously low.”
UofL Health hosted a blood drive on Friday, and all 70 appointments were filled in less than three days.
Erin Warren was one of the UofL Health employees who volunteered to give blood, which she does on a regular basis.
“It’s such a lifesaving gift,” Warren said. “If there’s something you want to do, and you don’t have any money to give or any resources to give, you can give your own blood and it does save lives.”
The former surgical nurse understands how important it is to have a steady supply of blood to ensure that surgeries are done in a timely manner. According to the Red Cross, some hospitals across the country have recently had to postpone surgeries, including organ transplants, due to a lack of blood.
Chief Medical Officer of UofL Health Dr. Jason Smith said he has never seen the Commonwealth’s and the United States’ blood supply this low in his entire career. Smith told WAVE 3 News that while the deadly tornadoes depleted the local supply, the main reason for the blood shortage was COVID-19 and social distancing rules, which prevented people from donating blood.
“This is a resource we cannot make, we cannot produce; this resource that saves lives is only there because of the giving of other people,” Smith said.
While giving blood just once is beneficial, Smith encourages people to return multiple times to help build up the supply.
Warren said she intends to return as soon as she is able to give blood again in a few months.
“I keep showing up because you have to think about the good you’re doing rather than how it’s going to inconvenience you or hurt you,” Warren said. “The inconvenience to me or the small little prick in my arm is minor to me compared to someone losing their loved one because there wasn’t enough blood.”
To find a blood drive near you, click here.
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