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Another Severe Blood Shortage

What’s driving shortfall in donations?

January 12, 2024

One of the nation’s leading blood suppliers is experiencing an emergency blood shortage, while calling on Americans to make an appointment to donate.

In a statement this week, the American Red Cross said it was facing the lowest level of blood donations in the last 20 years.

“One of the most distressing situations for a doctor is to have a hospital full of patients and an empty refrigerator without any blood products,” Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer of the Red Cross, said in a statement.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The issue:  The number of people donating blood has fallen by about 40 percent during the past 20 years, the American Red Cross said.
    • This included a 7,000-unit shortfall in blood donations between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
  • Contributing factors:  The blood supplier said remote work has affected annual donation drives; higher hemoglobin thresholds make more potential young donors ineligible; and other changes to blood transfusion protocols have impacted the demand for blood.
  • Eligibility:  Most people can donate in Pennsylvania if they are in good health, at least 16, and weigh a minimum of 110 pounds.
  • In Pennsylvania:  There are five major blood donation centers across the commonwealth: American Red Cross Greater Pennsylvania Region; Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank; Community Blood Bank of Northwest PA and Western New York; Miller-Keystone Blood Center; and Vitalant Blood Center.
  • Quotable:  “A person needs lifesaving blood every two seconds in our country—and its availability can be the difference between life and death, however, blood is only available thanks to the generosity of those who roll up a sleeve to donate,” Young said.

HAP joins the state’s blood suppliers encouraging everyone to learn more about the ways blood donation supports your community. Learn more online.