Good Shepherd, Other Hospitals Facing Severe Blood Shortage

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Taran Goodwin, clinical laboratory scientist in the Laboratory Department at Good Shepherd, performs blood bank testing on patients’ blood samples. The hospital, like others around the country, is facing a blood shortage. (Photo courtesy of GSHCS)

With hospitals around the country facing a shortage of blood, the American Red Cross is urging people to donate blood.

According to the Red Cross, the organization is facing its worst blood shortage in over a decade, posing a risk to patient care.

“While some types of medical care can wait, others can’t,” said Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer of the Red Cross. “Hospitals are still seeing accident victims, cancer patients, those with blood disorders like sickle cell disease, and individuals who are seriously ill who all need blood transfusions to live even as Omicron cases surge across the country. We’re doing everything we can to increase blood donations to ensure every patient can receive medical treatments without delay, but we cannot do it without more donors. We need the help of the American people.”

At Good Shepherd Medical Center, the hospital is also facing shortages of blood.

“We have experienced critical blood supply issues in the past months,” said Good Shepherd Laboratory Manager Ronda Reisdorph. “We have had no units of O-negative on the shelf two times and zero O-positive one time.”

O-negative is the universal donor and Reisdorph said the hospital uses O-negative units for emergency release when a patient’s blood type is unknown.  “We have been running with less than minimum thresholds in the past few months and no chance for restocking even with emergent cases,” she said.

Reisdorph said the inventories have improved this week due to more people donating blood.

“We are hopeful that this will continue,” she said.

Good Shepherd Marketing & Communications Director Caitlin Cozad said community support of American Red Cross blood drives is essential to return the hospital’s blood supply to pre-COVID minimum stocking numbers.

“We especially need O-negative donors,” said Cozad. “This is one way you can serve your community and help ensure a stable blood supply for local hospitals.”

To schedule an appointment, visit the Red Cross website, type in your zip code to make an appointment today.

“Blood drives are available locally every month where you can select a location near you online and make your appointment to give blood,” said Cozad. “It’s as easy as that.”

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