Can You Spare a Pint? Blood Bank Needs You to Donate. Now.

Regional hospitals are experiencing their biggest blood shortage in 14 years.

photo: shutterstock

The need for blood is constant not only in the human body, but for the hospitals that supply it for patients in need.

Right now the Central Blood Bank, which serves about 50 hospitals throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, is facing its largest deficit of blood reserves in 14 years.

“It’s the perfect storm of fewer people donating as well as the need always being high in the summer,” says Kristen Lane, director of marketing for Central Blood Bank. “It’s a nationwide problem at the moment.”

Lane says the blood bank’s goal is to always have a three day supply for hospitals, which requires 800 donate units each a week.

What happens when blood isn’t available?

“Worst-case scenario a hospital will have to tell a patient in chemo they don’t have the blood they need for a transfusion and they will have to wait,” Lane says.

The need is greater in the summer because of the change in schedule from some of the blood bank’s most faithful donors.

“At least 20 percent of donations come from high school and college blood drives, and they’re all off their normal schedules in the summer,” Lane says.

Anyone 18 years old or older who weighs at least 110 lbs. and is in general good health may be eligible to donate blood. Sixteen- and 17-year-olds who meet the same conditions can also donate with parental consent.

Lane says a single donation can save as many as three lives but she understands potential donors being apprehensive about the procedure.

“It’s perfectly normal to be nervous, but I always say to think of the newborn baby or the folks in chemo who really need a donation, and when you think about that there really is no comparison to a little needle prick,” Lane says.

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Categories: The 412