Vitalant declares blood emergency, to hold drive Friday at Stateline
Barton Health not experiencing shortage but urge community members to donate
STATELINE, Nev. — While there is no shortage locally, Vitalant, a nonprofit blood services provider, will hold an emergency drive next week in Stateline and those who participate will be entered into a ticket giveaway for the Super Bowl.
The blood supply for 900 hospitals nationwide dipped to its lowest level in a year at Vitalant, triggering an emergency, the company said in a news release.
Eligible donors of all blood types, especially type O, are needed now to schedule an appointment and donate in the days and weeks ahead to prevent delays for patients who need transfusions.
Barton Health officials said it is not experiencing a blood shortage but urges the community to participate in the drive.
“According to the American Heart Association, every few seconds, someone in the U.S. is in need of a blood donation,” said Dr. Faye Smith-Chakmakova, medical director for Barton Lab. “However, there’s not always enough donated blood to meet that need. Aid agencies began the year announcing the country was facing its worst blood shortage in more than a decade. Barton Health maintains strong partnership with blood suppliers, and at this time, Barton Memorial Hospital is not experiencing a blood shortage.
“Eligible community members are encouraged to donate blood in support of helping others in need,” Smith-Chakmakova added. “Barton Health partners with Vitalant, the nation’s largest independent, nonprofit organization focused exclusively on providing lifesaving blood services, to host community blood drives.”
Changes in the way people work, live, and play since the start of the pandemic created lasting challenges to maintaining an adequate blood supply, Vitalant said. As many people continue to work remotely, blood donations at business-hosted blood drives are down by 50% in 2022 from 2019, a decline of 90,000 donations. Overall, the number of people donating with Vitalant has dropped about 20% in the last three years, while patients’ needs remain strong.
Mitzy Edgecomb, Vitalant’s west division vice president, said, “The frequency of emergency blood shortages is a grave concern for all of us. Because blood is perishable with no artificial substitute, the blood supply must be constantly replenished. Despite extraordinary outreach efforts in the last few months, blood inventory continues to be dangerously low.”
Vitalant notes that new donors and those who haven’t donated recently are critical to end blood shortages and help our blood supply return to more stable, pre-pandemic levels.
In addition to societal shifts, recent blood drive cancellations forced by severe winter weather and illnesses have compounded the shortage. Blizzards, rain/wind/flooding and extreme cold caused more than 2,000 donations to go uncollected in December and early January.
Donors of every blood type are critical to ending this shortage and maintaining an adequate supply. The need is most acute for type O blood and platelets. Type O-positive is the most transfused blood type while O-negative can help patients of any blood type. Donated platelets, which often help cancer patients, must be used within a week.
The blood drive will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, at the Kahle Community Center in Stateline.
Those who donate will be entered into a drawing for the Big Game. The prize includes two tickets to the fan experience, tailgate party, and, of course the game. The package includes accommodations from Feb. 9-13 at a luxury resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Learn more about hosting blood drives, donating blood and make an appointment to give at vitalant.org, download and use the Vitalant app or call 877-258-4825. For more information, visit vitalant.org/biggame.
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