5 updates on the national blood supply shortage

The U.S. has been facing a worsening national blood shortage for months as the pandemic has delayed blood drives and fewer people are donating. Hospitals have had to delay surgeries, and providers have expressed fears of patients receiving suboptimal care. 

Five updates on the national shortage: 

  1. Pennsylvania health officials said Aug. 19 that blood donations in the state have "dramatically decreased," PennLive reported. Officials said blood donations are down by up to 25 percent nationally, and one contributing factor is a lack of people entering the field of phlebotomy.

  2. The New York Blood Center in New York City announced a blood emergency Aug. 23 caused by a significant decrease in the city's blood supply, NBC New York reported. As the COVID-19 delta variant has spread, blood drives have been canceled, leading to a drop in donations.

    Blood supply has dropped from a five-day supply to two- or three-day supplies and a one- or two-day supply of Type O blood in New York City, according to NBC New York. The blood center warned that more severe shortages could come in the weeks ahead.

  3. Rhode Island's blood center is also down to a one-to-two-day supply for Type O blood, WPRI, a CBS affiliate based in Providence, R.I., reported Aug. 24. The blood center said it expects exacerbated shortages surrounding the Labor Day holiday.

    The state's only level 1 trauma hospital has been down to less than half the amount of blood it needs each day, according to WPRI. Stephani Lueckel, MD, a trauma surgeon at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, told the publication: "One massive transfusion protocol for one patient can wipe out our entire supply of Type O blood."
  1. Two universities in Utah are hosting a "blood battle" in an effort to collect 2,000 units of blood to combat the state's blood supply shortage, Utah Public Radio reported Aug. 24. Utah State University in Logan and Weber State University in Ogden are each hoping to collect 1,000 units of blood.

  2. The American College of Surgeons released guidance Aug. 11 for providers to conserve blood supplies during the national shortage. The organization said a three-pronged approach will be necessary to increase the country's blood supply: optimizing the production of red blood cells, minimizing blood loss and managing anemia.
 

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