‘Never seen it this bad’: Red Cross, OHSU need blood donors


"Blood is so scarce we’re having to delay some major surgeries'

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Health officials are calling on blood donors after the American Red Cross deemed the “dangerously low blood supply” a national blood crisis.

During a press conference Tuesday morning, spokespeople from the American Red Cross and OHSU urged those who are eligible to donate as the low blood supply poses a danger to patients.

“It’s a dire situation,” a spokesperson with the Red Cross Cascades Region said. “Our inventory is truly at crisis levels.”

Blood supply levels are so low, doctors are reportedly being forced to choose who gets blood transfusions. 

“Because blood is so scarce we’re also having to delay some major surgeries,” said Dr. Rachel Cook, OHSU’s medical director of inpatient Bone Marrow Transplant unit.

“We now have to prioritize our limited supply for those who need it most, such as those who are actively bleeding, having chest pains, undergoing emergent surgeries, or whose blood counts are so low that they’re in really dire straits,” Cook said.

Nearly 10% less people have donated blood over the course of the pandemic, while there’s been a staggering 62% decline in blood drives at schools and college campuses, according to Red Cross.

“Routine blood donors are a finite resource.” said Dr. Cook. ”We don’t necessarily have the replacement we need. We need a new batch of people who are going step up and donate.”

“I can tell all of you that I’ve been with this organization for 18 years,” said Angel Montes, “and I haven’t seen it this bad. I have never seen us not be able to provide the products that hospitals need when they’re requesting it.”

Those able and willing to donate are urged to make their appointments in advance at RedCrossBlood.org/Give

In addition to blood donations, Red Cross is looking for more volunteers to help during blood drives and the collection process.
To volunteer visit: redcross.org/volunteertoday.

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