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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Critical blood shortage: Vitalant says providers have less than 2-day supply of necessary blood types

(VITALANT NEWS RELEASE) – Vitalant, formerly Lifeblood, the nonprofit blood bank serving the local community in the greater Memphis area, has declared a c...

(VITALANT NEWS RELEASE) – Vitalant,formerly Lifeblood, the nonprofit blood bank serving the local community in thegreater Memphis area, has declared a critical shortage of blood as bloodproviders nationwide have less than a two days’ supply of necessary bloodtypes.

For Vitalant, the busy holiday season resulted in over 21,000fewer donations than expected. Due to the critical shortage, donors arestrongly encouraged to give blood as soon as possible by calling 877-258-4825(877-25-VITAL) or going online to vitalant.org.

“We strive to maintain a 4-day supply of blood just to providewhat patients need, and currently we’re at less than half that for certainblood types,” said Dr. Ralph Vassallo, Chief Medical Officer at Vitalant.“Blood on the shelf helps patients every day—for traumas, cancer treatments andcritical transfusions—and enables us to be ready if disaster strikes.”

Currently, all blood types and components are in short supply,with a special need for platelets and type O blood donations. Platelets have avery short shelf life—only five days. Type O-negative blood is the universalblood type that can help stabilize all patients. Nationally, Vitalant needs tocollect more than 35,000 blood products per week to meet patient needs. In theMemphis area, we need to collect 300 blood products per day to meet localpatient needs.

Every two seconds, someone needs blood. And even with newdonations coming in daily, the demand can quickly outpace supply. Patientsdepend on the ongoing generosity of volunteer blood donors for the bloodtransfusions they need.

Who’s at risk? Everyone from accident victims tonewborns to seniors who may need:

  • Red blood cells for trauma, surgery, emergencies
  • Platelets and red blood cells to fight chronic disease – patients with cancer, hemophilia and sickle cell disease
  • Plasma to stop the bleeding – burn patients and those with clotting disorders

“To all the blood donors out there—you have gone above and beyondto save my son’s life. Without blood transfusions I would have lost my littleboy,” said Nathan’s mom, April.

Nathan was born with a rare blood disorder, Gardos channelmutation, that causes his red blood cells to rapidly break apart. Every month,he relies on the generosity of strangers to donate lifesaving blood—a need thatwill most likely continue the rest of his life.

In fact, Nathan will receive his 79th blood transfusion on Jan. 9. Nathan and countless other children and adults with rare blood disorders and chronic disease need donated blood regularly.