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The American Red Cross: There’s a blood shortage in the U.S.

Donations are strongly encouraged to help stable out the blood supply
Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 5:04 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -As the United States returns to normal, the American Red Cross says blood supplies are becoming depleted heading into the summer.

Following a year and a half of shutdowns, lack of blood drives, and no elective surgeries, the United States now faces a lack of blood in a time of year that already sees an increase in need.

A.J. Renold, Executive Director of the local American Red Cross chapter, says the pandemic has kept the nonprofit from holding blood drives to help support the demand.

“The pandemic has caused an interesting problem in that a lot of the places that we usually have blood drives were shut down during the year,” said Renold. “It’s been kind of a crisis all year long, but now that things are opening back up it’s really great, but also that increases the number of accidents, the number of emergencies that require blood.”

An ER nurse, Whitney Janke at St. Joseph’s Regional Hospital has seen an increase in the number of traumas coming through the doors.

“Folks are starting to get out,” said Janke. “They are traveling more. They are getting to go and do the things they haven’t been able to do for a while, and so we do see an increase in trauma patients in our facility.”

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More traumas mean a higher demand for blood.

“It’s a very high need for some patients both with acute conditions, chronic conditions, and then with many trauma patients need blood as well,” said Janke. “It’s just very important that we have that blood on hand and able to serve our patients that come to us.”

Serving this need is a very small percentage of the U.S. population, and Renold says it’s not enough.

“The nation is very dependent on about three percent of the population to donate blood to the rest of us, and we so need really more people, a larger pool of donors, so we don’t get into a crisis situation.”

To avoid this situation, Renold and Janke encourage individuals to donate.

“I understand it can be scary,” said Janke. “I hear very often people don’t like needles and that’s understandable. There will be a needle involved, but it’s well worth the donation.”

“Give us a little bit of your time and it will save a life and it may be yours one day,” said Renold.

Individuals can donate, organize drives, or volunteer with organizations like the Red Cross. Click here to learn more on how to help out.

Through June 30, the American Red Cross is even thanking those who donate blood, platelets, or plasma and giving them a $5 Amazon gift card.

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