Red Cross: Emergency blood shortage may delay medical procedures

Donors urged to give now as nation faces lowest number of blood donors in decades

American Red Cross

DIXON — The American Red Cross is experiencing an emergency blood shortage as the nation faces the lowest number of people giving blood in 20 years.

The Red Cross blood supply has fallen to critically low levels across the country, and blood and platelet donors are urged to make a donation appointment to help alleviate the shortage and help ensure lifesaving medical procedures are not put on hold.

Over the last 20 years, the number of people donating blood to the Red Cross has fallen by about 40%. When fewer people donate blood, even small disruptions to blood donations – such as the nearly 7,000-unit shortfall in blood donations the Red Cross experienced between Christmas and New Year’s Day – can have a huge impact on the availability of blood products and dramatic consequences for those in need of emergency blood transfusion. Blood products are currently going to hospitals faster than blood donations are coming in, and in recent weeks, the Red Cross has had to limit distributions of type O blood products – among the most transfused blood types – to hospitals, according to a news release.

“One of the most distressing situations for a doctor is to have a hospital full of patients and an empty blood bank without any blood on the shelves. Doctors often can’t operate without blood available to make surgeries, medical procedures and treatments possible,” said Dr. Eric Gehrie, executive physician director for the Red Cross. “More challenges lie ahead as the potential for severe winter weather and seasonal illness may compound the dire blood supply situation. Donors of all types – especially those with type O blood and those giving platelets – are urged to give now.”

To make an appointment, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-733-2767.

The Red Cross and the National Football League are partnering this January, during National Blood Donor Month, to urge individuals to give blood or platelets and help tackle the emergency blood shortage. Those who come to give blood, platelets or plasma in January will automatically be entered for a chance to win a trip for two to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. For details, visit Bowl.

Savanna blood drive is Feb. 9

Illinois state Rep. Tony McCombie (R-Savanna) is hosting an upcoming blood drive with the City of Savanna and the Savanna Fire Department. The Savanna Community Blood Drive will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, at the Savanna Fire Department Truck Bay, 101 Main St., Savanna.

State Rep. Tony McCombie, R-Savanna

McCombie is encouraging anyone able to consider donating blood.

“We have an ongoing blood shortage in Illinois, which makes any donation a valuable step in helping save lives,” said McCombie. “This is a community-based event that has had tremendous success in the past, and I hope this year will be no different.”

Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome. To make an appointment to donate, call the Red Cross at 815-632-7384 or go to

To streamline your donation and save up to 15 minutes, visit to complete pre-donation reading and the questionnaire on the day of your appointment.

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Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network

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