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Local blood banks sound the alarm on short blood supply in Memphis

John Brown, the executive director of the American Red Cross Mid-South said Memphis has seen a 30% decline in donations since the summer of this year.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — What would you do if you or a loved one went to the hospital and there wasn’t enough blood?

Stephanie Kizziar of Vitalant shared it’s a terrifying thought.

“This is the lowest we have ever seen our blood supply since the beginning of the pandemic,” she said. “So that is due to people kind of going back to their normal lives.”

John Brown, the executive director of the American Red Cross Mid-South said  Memphis has seen a 30% decline in donations since the summer of this year.

The blood shortage isn’t just in Memphis. The American Red Cross said its national supply hasn’t been as low as it is now in over a decade. 

“When we had the mass shooting in Collierville, just think about that,” said Brown. “Suddenly needing units to supply. Stuff like that is happening all over the country and when you have a drain like that it creates a dire need.”

Brown explained what’s keeping the blood supply shortage so low at this time.

“People are trying to get together with families and you go through the summer, like you said,” he said. “If you don’t get to that point to where you resource back and the fall comes and people are still being sick and we’re just seeing the numbers decline with COVID, people have to be reeducated and reencouraged to donate.”

Kizziar said while vital, the need for blood is for more than people in car wrecks.

“It’s newborn babies, it’s cancer patients,” she said. “There is probably someone in your life right now who is either in need of blood or will be someday.”

The Red Cross declared an emergency need for donors last month which encouraged thousands of people to donate, but Brown said hospital demand remains strong. 

“We, the Red Cross, do not want you to need blood and not have it, period,” he said. “So encourage those that have it to donate.”

If you’d like to donate you can click here for the Red Cross or here for Vitalant.

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