MUSKINGUM COUNTY, Ohio- The increase of high COVID-19 cases and discovery of new variants have caused a blood shortage for the American Red Cross.
This is the worst blood shortage in more than a decade. According to the American Red Cross, there’s about a 10 percent overall decline in the number of people donating blood, blood drive cancellations and staff limitations.
“So it’s putting our physicians in a very difficult position. No doctor wants to decide who can get blood and who’s going to have to wait to get it and it’s a very real situation that our hospitals are facing,” Lori Gaitten, Account Manager with the American Red Cross Central Ohio Region Blood Services stated. “In fact, I follow a young man on social media who has osteosarcoma and he has had multiple blood transfusions as the result of the chemotherapy, and his last blood transfusion they had to wait for the blood to arrive because it wasn’t available at the hospital.”
The young man was able to receive the blood transfusion once it was eventually shipped, but Gaitten mentioned it can be very dangerous to wait for blood in some situations that require an immediate transfusion.
Due to this blood shortage, the Red Cross is taking action by asking donors to attend the scheduled blood drives that are on the Red Cross website, be patient during the blood drives and appointments, and they are also offering paid phlebotomy training.
“We are actively recruiting and hiring for phlebotomist and we want people to know that a lot of people go to school to get their phlebotomy certification or their training, but we’ll provide it for free on the job training so if that’s something you’re interested in doing, think about the Red Cross as a career,” Gaitten said.
More phlebotomists are needed during this time to assist in staffing the blood drives, says Gaitten.
Walk-ins are available as the schedule allows, but the American Red Cross is urging the community to attend the blood drives or schedule an appointment. To receive more information about donating blood, the requirements or to scheduling an appointment, please visit at redcrossblood.org or 1-800-REDCROSS.