It is high time for the US nation to stabilize the blood supply soon or else there will be a scarcity of certain types of life-saving blood required by patients.
US Blood Supply At The Low Level
The need for blood in the US is very high with every 2 seconds, someone in the nation requiring blood and or platelets. The USA requires around 16 million units of blood each year for transfusion and approximately 30000-40000 units daily.
Approximately 5000 units of platelets and 6500 units of plasma are needed per day in the US. But unfortunately, 38 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood or platelets in the country. In addition to the demand for blood by elders and patients, there is a demand for blood for around 1000 newborn babies every year who are affected with sickle cell disease for which blood transfusion is required throughout their lives. During sickle cell disease, a patient may not be able to get out of bed without a transfusion of blood.
The statement released regarding the national blood crisis by the Red Cross in conjunction with America’s Blood Centers and the Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies emphasizes people donate blood at local blood centers to get away with the forecasted disaster.
The crisis of blood is in such a critical stage that Red Cross has experienced days when they were unable to serve blood to hospitals required for surgeries, transplants, cancer treatment, chronic illness, and treat accident cases. Doctors are having tough challenges to treat and cure patients who require immediate blood supply.
The blood crisis in the US is mainly driven by the current pandemic situation combined with winter storms and less medical staffing to conduct blood donation camps. The blood donation drive has declined by 10% since 2020. Even blood donation drives conducted by schools and colleges have declined due to the pandemic. The blood centers have reported that the availability of certain blood types is very less, which is less than one day’s worth and for which hospitals are either rescheduling or canceling their surgeries.
The requirement of blood is life-saving for patients whose blood does not produce enough hemoglobin. Those patients require a blood transfusion to maintain enough hemoglobin level by blood transfusion.
The sudden surge of blood in blood banks has caused people to get hospitalized when their conditions deteriorate to extreme levels due to the unavailability of required blood on time.
The crisis of blood in the nation has called for an urgent need to donate blood from all quarters, including local business houses wherein employees are asked to donate blood at their local blood centers. The donated blood requires 3-4 days to reach the desired patients after proper testing and processing. Moreover, the current pandemic situation allows people having obtained any of the US-approved Covid-19 vaccines which include Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson can likely go for blood donation. The best part of blood donation is that one blood donation can facilitate three lives.
The pain suffered due to the scarcity of blood has turned many of the people in the USA into ambassadors and advocates for blood donation.
Dr.Baia Lasky, medical doctor for the Red Cross urged people to donate blood of all types to handle this critical crisis and also to avoid patients waiting for critical treatment. The blood of type O is preferred among all types available. The Red Cross is also urging people to volunteer for blood drives and help in transporting blood products to hospitals. The Red Cross is emphasizing more on blood donation camps since blood cannot be manufactured but can be obtained only through blood donation drives.
In an initiative to increase blood donation drive, Red Cross has partnered with NFL to provide a chance to win tickets to the upcoming Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles or win expensive gifts for whoever donates blood, platelets, or plasma.