Northern Nevada officials dealing with ‘unprecedented shortage of blood’ |

Northern Nevada officials dealing with ‘unprecedented shortage of blood’

Special to the Tribune

RENO, Nev. — This July, reserves of whole blood throughout United Blood Services service areas ranging from San Francisco to the west through Northern Nevada in the east, and the Oregon border south to Merced, are projected to be at least 4,700 pints below required inventory levels.

That’s the equivalent of more than 14,000 lives that could be saved ­— forcing United Blood Services to issue a critical public appeal urgently encouraging blood donors of all types to give blood now.

Currently, the fluctuating blood inventory level has been trending at an approximate two-day supply for patients, which is half of the ideal quantity needed to provide a safe and available blood inventory.

“It is critical that we are prepared to respond to blood needs because it is a matter of life and death,” said Mary Meeker, interim regional director of field operations with United Blood Services. “This unprecedented shortage of blood has great potential to compromise our ability to support the transfusions that physicians need to care for, or even save the lives of, their patients.”

Hospital demand for blood has also increased significantly this year. Compared to last July, approximately 500 more pints of red blood cells are projected to be in demand from hospitals this July.

Each week, United Blood Services and its partner blood centers need at least 8,000 donors to meet the needs of patients in the local community and beyond.

Less than 40 percent of the general population is eligible to donate blood and less than 10 percent of those eligible actually donate. United Blood Services and its partner blood centers provide blood to more than 100 hospitals throughout Northern Nevada, Northern and Central California, the San Francisco Bay Area and around the world as needed. Out-of-state resources to meet local patient blood needs have also been exhausted, since blood centers across the country are still recovering from a decline in donations.

To schedule a donation appointment, please visit or call 800-696-4484.

This article was provided by United Blood Services, Northern Nevada’s nonprofit blood provider that serves patients at 20 hospitals in the area. Visit

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