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American Red Cross facing worst blood shortage in more than a decade, urges people to donate

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Posted at 8:31 PM, Jan 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-11 23:18:40-05

BALTIMORE — The American Red Cross said it’s facing the worst blood shortage in more than a decade as the organization declares a national blood crisis for the first time ever.

“That means that there is less than a day supply of certain blood types on the shelves,” said Ashley Henyan with the National Capital and Greater Chesapeake Region of the American Red Cross. “It’s a matter of life or death right now.”

Henyan said the Red Cross has seen a 10 percent decline in blood donations since March of 2020. There’s also been a 62 percent drop in blood drives at high schools and colleges.

“The winter weather and then coming right off the holiday, all of that added up with the pandemic is really why we see ourselves in this situation right now,” Henyan said.

She also said the shortage is impacting patients at hospitals. Henyan said it’s putting doctors in tough positions where they have to choose who gets blood and who has to wait.

“This could mean an accident victim not getting the blood that they need. It could mean a mother experiencing a complicated childbirth to have to wait for blood,” she said. “Without a healthy blood supply, there’s really no hope for patients to survive.”

The Red Cross said it’s in critical need for all blood types and the organization is now calling on anyone who is eligible to donate blood.

Henyan said a donation can be lifesaving.

“You could be helping a stranger, neighbor and maybe one of your own loved ones,” she said.

The Red Cross said volunteers to help with blood collection are also in short supply.

For more information on how to donate and become a volunteer, you can click this link here