The Community Blood Center (CBC), a local nonprofit organization supplying blood and blood products to local hospitals, and ThedaCare Regional Medical Center, a nonprofit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, announced today in a press release that the local blood supply in Northeaster Wisconsin is running dangerously low.
The shortage is impacting all blood types, including types A, B, AB and O, both positive and negative. The Community Blood Center shared that the overall inventory is at 60 percent of optimal, with some blood types as low as 40 percent. Types O and A, both positive and negative, are currently in high demand.
O negative, the universal blood type, can be safely transfused to anyone, which is one of the reasons it’s so important to have available. O negative is the type of blood that’s used in emergency rooms and emergency transport helicopters when there isn’t time to figure out a patient’s blood type. Only 9 percent of the population is O negative.
“The need is serious and substantial,” Community Blood Center CEO John Hagins, said in a statement. “We need blood donors to act today to ensure a reliable and steady supply to the more than 20 local hospitals CBC supports.”
In summer, blood donation becomes more challenging due to busy schedules and vacations. However, recreational traumas and injuries increase during the summer months, leading to a need for more blood and blood products.
“During the summer months, we see increased activity in our emergency room and in the number of patients who need blood,” said Dr. Ray Georgen, System Trauma Medical Director at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah, in a statement. “Motorcycle and boating crashes are two examples of reasons the need increases. It’s crucial that we have the necessary blood available to respond to the traumas that occur this time of year.”
According to research done by AABB (formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks), an estimated 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood, but less than 10 percent actually do.
“The level II trauma center at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah depends on an adequate blood supply,” Georgen said in a statement. “It is a vital life-saving resource that is provided by the generosity of volunteer donors.”
“Blood can only come from a volunteer blood donor,” Hagins said in the release. “The patients in our local hospitals are depending on us to provide the life-saving blood and blood products needed. With a shelf life of only 42 days for red blood cells and five days for platelets, the need to collect blood and blood products today is vitally important.”
All donors are encouraged to schedule a donation appointment by calling (800) 280-4102 or going online to communityblood.org. First-time donors, regular donors and platelet donors are all needed to ensure a stable blood supply throughout the summer and beyond, according to the press release.