HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The American Red Cross says the country’s blood supply has fallen to critically low levels, as it has dropped nearly 25% since August.
“Hopefully my two units are there, because its been, “O” has been just like extinct,” Tenecia Smith said.
A drop in blood supply threatens medical care for patients with an emergency need. American Red Cross administrators say if the blood supply continues to drop, hospitals and the community will immediately see the effects.
“It’s very critical. We’re not to the point yet, but I’m sure some hospitals are having to cancel elective surgeries and you’re always having to have blood on hand to deal with emergencies, gunshots, car accidents and then there’s people who need ongoing life-saving blood transfusions for cancer treatments and sickle cell treatments,” said Susan Sparks with American Red Cross.
Recent weather is also a factor impacting blood donations. The American Red Cross says Hurricane Idalia’s impact on the southeastern U.S. caused more than 700 units of blood and platelets to go uncollected.
Then, in August, donor turnout dropped due to travel and back-to-school activities, contributing to a 30,000 donation shortfall in that month alone. People who benefit from blood donations say they really need it.
“I receive two units of blood monthly, and so, it’s important to me because it improves my quality of life. It decreases my sickle pain crisis tremendously. In the last three years, by me doing an even exchange blood transfusion, it has helped keep me out the hospital for three years and that’s a game changer for someone who has Sickle Cell Anemia,” Smith stated.
The Red Cross says they are also monitoring Hurricane Lee and its potential impact on the northeast, which could also affect the already low blood supply.
September is Sickle Cell Awareness month, and a ‘Paint the Town Red Sickle Cell Walk’ will be held on September 23rd from 9 a.m. until noon. Supporters will walk from the old Tennessee Valley parking lot to Hillsboro City Hall, approximately 2 miles on the 23rd. You can contact people familiar with the event at this email for more details on the walk.