The national blood shortage hits home
Last updated 2/3/2022 at 11:58am
Assemblymember Marie Waldron
The national blood shortage has reached our region, and the situation is critical for many local hospitals. While January has been designated National Blood Donor Month for over 50 years, people have not been stepping up to donate blood and maintain badly needed supplies as they have in the past.
The San Diego Blood Bank has reported that donations have dropped significantly during the COVID crises, even though donating blood is completely safe. One contributing factor involves treatments delayed in 2020 and 2021 that are now being scheduled, leading to an unprecedented increase in demand for medical care – and more blood.
Blood supplies at times have been so low that there is a real fear that lives will be lost. Severe increases in patient load, along with a reduction in staffing due in part to COVID, have not helped.
The situation has become so serious that a mass casualty incident, even a four-car pile-up, could exhaust blood supplies. People with blood disorders are being seriously impacted, elective surgeries have been rescheduled/delayed, one trauma center in Los Angeles had to shut down for hours because of blood shortages, and some hospitals here locally have been forced to contact neighboring hospitals for blood when treating multiple trauma cases. At times, hospitals have been on the verge of deciding who to treat and who not to treat over lack of blood.
There is a solution to this nationwide problem. People simply need to get back into the habit of donating blood – remember that just one donation can save up to three lives.
To find a blood drive near you, please go to https://www.californiavolunteers.ca.gov/get-involved/covid-19/donate-blood/
Let’s roll up our sleeves and start saving lives!