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American Red Cross in short supply, your blood could save lives

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 4:45 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The American Red Cross says extreme blood shortages are making smaller health issues become greater ones.

Officials with the organization said places where blood drives usually happen, like schools, are being shut down, hurting the supply.

From 7:30 a.m. to noon Friday, you can stop by the Dougherty County Government Building to give blood. Doing so could mean people battling serious conditions can keep their doctor’s appointments.

“Hospitals are seeing people come in with more advanced diseases, more acute cases, things that may be were elective are now emergent,” said Baia Lasky, the medical director for the American Red Cross of Georgia.

Baia Lasky, the medical director for the American Red Cross of Georgia.
Baia Lasky, the medical director for the American Red Cross of Georgia.(WALB)

Lasky said blood donations help cancer patients, trauma patients as well as sickle cell patients.

“We’re seeing a compound effect of challenges with collecting as well as with an increase in demand and we’re really just collecting as fast as we can. It’s leaving our shelves as fast as we collect it,” said Lasky.

When natural disasters hit, they also send blood to impacted areas.

“Someone who’s donating in another state may be able to directly impact the healthcare of individuals who were experiencing the effects of these disasters,” explained Lasky.

Lasky said blood has a very short shelf life and that blood collected at the beginning of the week is typically used by the end of it.

She said this short shelf life is the reason they need donations before disaster hits.

The American Red Cross is in dire need of blood donations.
The American Red Cross is in dire need of blood donations.(American Red Cross)

“When people come into the hospitals, they need blood immediately. It’s not something that they can even wait a few days for. Even if we’re not in the middle of a disaster, we’re still needing that blood because we never know what’s coming around the corner,” Lasky told WALB News 10.

While COVID-19 is still around, they’re doing their best to make sure donators feel safe.

They take people by appointment to control the flow of people, there are six feet between beds, and they do health screenings beforehand to make sure everyone coming in is healthy.

To see when and where the nearest blood drive will be in your area, visit the American Red Cross website.

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