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Red Cross Warns of Severe Blood Shortage

Hospitals' need for blood on the rise as they deal with many patients who delayed care due to the COVID-19 pandemic

blood donation

THURSDAY, June 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- There is a severe blood shortage in the United States due to a recent surge in trauma cases, organ transplants, and elective surgeries, the American Red Cross says.

Red cell demand from hospitals with trauma centers is 10 percent higher than in 2019, which is five times higher than the growth in demand from other facilities that provide transfusions, according to a Red Cross news release. Between 20 and 40 percent of trauma deaths that occur after hospital admission involve massive bleeding. In such cases, saving a life could require hundreds of blood products, depending on injury severity.

Hospitals' need for blood is also on the rise as they deal with many patients who delayed care due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Type O is the blood type most urgently needed by hospitals because it is the one most often used in transfusions, but the Red Cross said that all blood types are welcomed. There is also an emergency need for platelets. Nearly half of all platelet donations are given to patients undergoing cancer treatments.

"Some hospitals are being forced to slow the pace of elective surgeries until the blood supply stabilizes, delaying crucial patient care," Chris Hrouda, president of Red Cross Biomedical Services, said in a statement. "As we return to prepandemic activities and resume travel to visit loved ones, we want people to remember the needs of patients this summer and the power so many of us have to help save lives."

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