The American Red Cross declared its first ever national blood crisis last week. This shortage is being described as historic and the worst in more than a decade.
“I have been in blood for over 30 years and this is the lowest the blood supply has been in a decade,” said Dawn Kaiser, area vice president for the Versiti Blood Center of Michigan.
Kaiser said the need for blood is great. Versiti would like to collect 600 units of blood each day for the 85 hospitals they serve across Michigan, but there are instances where they get half that amount.
“We like to see a five to six-day inventory on hand and right now we’re faced with a one day supply,” Kaiser said.
Versiti isn’t alone. The American Red Cross is using the word crisis to describe its national blood shortage.
The organization says there’s been a 10 percent drop in blood donations since March 2020. That decrease is fueled by 62 percent fewer college and high school blood drives due to the pandemic, coupled with ongoing blood drive cancellations because of illness, weather related closures and staffing limitations.
As for Kaiser, she said getting blood is critical.
“Without blood readily available, patients’ lives could be at risk,” Kaiser said. “Trauma, cancer patients, people who have accidents, and the blood may not be there. Right now, it’s dire.”
Versiti is offering a $25 gift card to first-time Versiti blood donors. It’s part of their effort to get new faces to roll up their sleeves and make a potential life-saving decision.
“We don’t know when a tragedy is going to happen or we don’t know when the next liver is going to become available for transplant and when those incidents happen, we want to make sure there’s blood for those patients,” Kaiser said.