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Lifesaving Care | Red Cross facing 'severe blood shortage' as trauma cases increase

Nationally, there has been a 10 percent increase in demand from trauma centers in 2021 compared to 2019, officials said.

ATLANTA — The American Red Cross is facing a "severe blood shortage" as the number of trauma cases, organ transplants and elective surgeries rise. 

Ruby Ramirez, a spokesperson for the Red Cross, said the organization is asking donors of all blood types, especially Type O and those giving platelets, to make an appointment soon.

Health officials say hospitals are responding to an atypically high number of traumas and emergency room visits. Trauma centers around the nation have seen a 10 percent increase in demand in 2021 compared to 2019.

In addition to trauma centers, the organization said hospitals are also dealing with blood shortages as people who deferred care during the pandemic now need treatment, and at times, blood transfusions. They said some hospitals are being forced to delay or slow the pace of elective surgeries.

“When seconds count in emergency trauma situations, it’s the blood already on the shelves that can make the difference in lifesaving care,” said Baia Lasky, medical director of the American Red Cross of Georgia. “As many people begin to enjoy travel and time with loved ones again this summer, patients are relying on the generosity of donors to help ensure they have access to the treatment they need. Please consider blood donation as a summer activity that can help save lives,” Lasky said.  

In most cases, those who had COVID-19 are eligible to donate, officials said. The Red Cross is winding down its testing of donations for coronavirus antibodies, with the practice expected to end June 25.

The organization says those who book appointments before June 30 will also receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, courtesy of Amazon. 

For a list of upcoming blood donation opportunities June 15-30, click here