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Hospital Community Navigates Blood Shortage, Encourages Donations

July 06, 2021

This summer, hospitals and health care organizations across the nation are raising awareness about the need for blood donations, calling on eligible Americans to support this important cause.

This summer has been a particularly challenging time for blood donations, as schools close for the season and Americans resume vacations they may have delayed due to the pandemic. The American Red Cross (ARC) reported that red cell demand from hospitals with trauma centers had increased 10 percent during 2021, and a spike in trauma cases, organ transplants, and elective surgeries had challenged the nation’s overall supply.

Last month, the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), the ARC, and other groups said the available blood supply had reached concerning levels, while calling for donations to support patients and hospitals throughout the nation.

“As we return to pre-pandemic activities and resume travel to visit loved ones, we want people to remember the needs of patients this summer and the power so many of us have to help save lives,” Chris Hrouda, president of Red Cross Biomedical Services, said in a statement

Among the key facts about blood donation from the ARC:

  • Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood and or platelets. About 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U. S. 
  • Nearly 7,000 units of platelets and 10,000 units of plasma are needed daily
  • A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 units of blood
  • Blood and platelets cannot be manufactured and can only come from volunteer donors
  • The blood type most often requested by hospitals is type O
  • One donation can potentially save up to three lives

HAP joins organizations across the commonwealth to encourage residents to consider the life-saving gift of blood donation. If you have questions about the process or your eligibility, don’t hesitate to contact your local hospital provider.

In addition, the American Hospital Association and the AABB have launched a Blood Management Toolkit to assist hospitals this summer to conserve the overall blood supply and encourage blood donations during this challenging time.

For more information, contact Robert Shipp III, PhD, BSN, RN, NEA-BC, HAP’s vice president, population health and clinical affairs, or Chris Chamberlain, MS, RN CHEP, HAP’s vice president, emergency management..