Holiday travel could lead to higher need for blood donations

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An emergency from the Red Cross as they are running very low on blood supplies. Donor levels are at historical lows, but hospitals and treatment centers are still demanding blood at high levels.

“Blood is medicine,” said John Brown, executive director of the Midsouth American Red Cross.

Right now, blood is in shorter supply than usual because of the pandemic, Brown said. According to the Red Cross, September and October recorded the lowest national blood inventory in more than a decade.

“Right now, we’re looking at a 30 percent drop in new donors across the region,” Brown said.

Amid the shortage, there is potential for more issues as millions travel to see family, leaving a higher likelihood of bad accidents where blood is needed fast. But it’s also needed at cancer centers that utilize blood platelets Brown said, which the Red Cross said is the clotting portion of blood, also in short supply.

“If someone is having a personal emergency, and that blood supplies not available, we’re looking at loss of life. … We don’t have to go far back to know that we need to have it available,” Brown said.

“Let’s go back to the Collierville shooting at Kroger … (the Red Cross) [was] getting calls and answered the call. But imagine if someone had made that donation.”

Brown said there was a crucial need for donations.

“We just don’t want to find ourselves in a position that we don’t have what’s needed,” he said.

Click here to learn more about where you can donate blood