Blood Shortage Hits Mid-Michigan

By: Aaron Baskerville
By: Aaron Baskerville

The American Red Cross is experiencing a dangerously low supply of blood and it's no different in Lansing.

The Red Cross has issued an urgent request to blood donors nation wide. Officials say the summer months are always the worst because schools are out and residents are vacationing.

High schools and colleges account for 20 percent of the blood donors. Officials say baby boomer cancer patients account for most of the blood use.

This coupled with the population growing and more people on the move, increases the need for blood. To help out with the blood shortage, Ingham Regional Medical Center uses short-term dated blood products.

The American Red Cross steps up its efforts for recruiting more donors.

For more information, call the Red Cross at 1-800-GIVE LIFE.

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Facts About Blood Donation

How much blood is collected and transfused each year?

About 13.9 million units of whole blood are donated in the United States each year by approximately eight million volunteer blood donors. These units are transfused to about 4.5 million patients per year.

Typically, each donated unit of blood, referred to as whole blood, is separated into multiple components, such as red blood cells, plasma, platelets and cryoprecipitate.

Each component is generally transfused to a different individual, each with different needs.

The need for blood is great. On any given day, approximately 32,000 units of red blood cells are needed. Accident victims, people undergoing surgery and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or other diseases, such as sickle cell disease and thalassemia, all utilize blood.

Approximately 26.5 million units of blood components are transfused each year.

Who donates blood?

Less than five percent of healthy Americans eligible to donate blood, actually donate each year.

According to studies, the average donor is a college-educated white male, between the ages of 30 and 50, who is married and has an above-average income.

However, a broad cross-section of the population donates every day. Furthermore, these average statistics are changing, and women and minority groups are volunteering to donate in increasing numbers.

While persons 65 years and older compose 13 percent of the population, they use 25 percent of all blood units transfused. Using current screening and donation procedures, a growing number of blood banks have found blood donation by seniors to be safe and practical.

Patients scheduled for surgery may be eligible to donate blood for themselves, a process known as autologous blood donation. In the weeks before non-emergency surgery, an autologous donor may be able to donate blood that will be stored until the surgical procedure.

Where is blood donated?

There are many places where blood donations can be made. Bloodmobiles travel to high schools, colleges, churches and community organizations.

People can also donate at community blood centers and hospital-based donor centers. Many people donate at blood drives at their place of work.

Community blood centers collect approximately 88 percent of the nation's blood, and hospital-based donor centers account for the other 12 percent.

Source: http://www.aabb.org/All_About_Blood/FAQs/aabb_faqs.htm#Facts(American Association of Blood Banks.


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