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Increases in surgeries, trauma cases mean blood supply remains dangerously low

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Posted at 12:31 PM, Jul 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-20 13:31:50-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Community Blood Center and Red Cross in Kansas City, Missouri, are urging people to donate as banked levels remain dangerously low.

“We are abundantly aware that sounds like white noise at this point. We have been at a blood shortage since the onset of the pandemic,” said Chelsey Smith, the Community Blood Center’s outreach and communications coordinator.

Smith explained trauma cases normally increase during the summer. Trauma patients, those suffering from a gunshot wound or car crash, require more blood when treated at hospitals.

Additionally, so far in 2021, hospitals are performing roughly 10 percent more surgeries than in 2019, which require blood. Smith attributed the increase to the fact many patients delayed elective surgeries in 2020 as hospitals prioritized COVID-19 treatment.

“We are experiencing a spike in blood usage that is directly related to the pandemic and it’s creating a perfect storm and put us into a more dire situation especially with our O-types,” Smith pointed out.

O-negative blood donations can be given to any person. O-positive blood donations can go to any patient with a positive blood type.

Smith said the Community Blood Center needs 600 donations each day to reach its goal of maintaining a seven-day supply. Right now, the center has about a five-day supply.

The Red Cross will give donors a $10 Amazon gift card this month, and donors can qualify for other prizes. The Community Blood Center runs similar incentives, most recently pairing a donation drive with Royals baseball giveaways.

“We did see a boost from Royals weeks, but we’re still not where we want to be. It did not pull us out of that blood emergency. We’re hoping the incentive will be your hospitals are served by CBC and patients are impacted by your donations; so we hope you’ll come in and make an immediate donation if you can,” Smith said.

To schedule a donation, visit either the Community Blood Center or Red Cross websites directly.