The Red Cross says the Philadelphia area is experiencing an “emergency shortage” of type O blood and platelets
The American Red Cross in southeastern Pennsylvania stated that blood donors are needed throughout the Philadelphia area to solve the shortage of type O blood and platelets.
Generally, ARC’s goal is to collect 600 units of blood per day and distribute it to 130 hospitals in southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey and Delaware.
Communications manager Alana Mauger told PhillyVoice that their O blood supply was insufficient for half a day.
“This is really important because type O blood is the most commonly transfused blood type,” Maug said. “We strive to provide a five-day supply for all blood types. When the O type drops to less than a day, it becomes a bit scary.”
O-negative blood can be provided to all patients and is called a universal blood donor.
When a trauma patient comes in and the doctor does not have time to test their blood type, O negative is used.
The shelf life of blood is only 42 days, so storage is not an option. Platelets used to treat cancer patients can only last for five days.
Mogg said that summer donations tend to decline, but this year the situation is much more serious.
She said that after the blood drive was cancelled at the beginning of the pandemic last year, the region faced similar shortages, but they were able to rebound quickly due to the falling demand for blood.
“The extent of this shortage seems to be worse, it seems to be more serious, and we will not rebound,” she said.
Across the country, the number of blood donations has fallen, and the demand for blood donations has increased. Officials cited the increasing number of trauma patients, organ transplants and elective surgeries as reasons.
“The Red Cross is currently facing a severe blood shortage,” Chris Hrouda, President of Red Cross Biomedical Services said“Our team is working around the clock to meet the extraordinary blood needs of hospitals and patients — in the past three months, about 75,000 more blood products have been distributed than expected to meet the needs — but without donors, we It can’t be done. Every two seconds, there is a person in the United States who needs blood.”
Some hospitals are forced to postpone elective surgery until the supply increases.
The Red Cross reports that in 2021, the demand for red blood cells in trauma hospitals has increased by 10%, more than five times that of other blood transfusion facilities.
Mogg said that the first reason people don’t donate blood is not because they are afraid of needles, but because they have never been asked, or have never really thought about it.
To make an appointment for blood donation, please visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Officials said that all blood types are needed.