Rockford blood center warns of ‘critical’ supply shortage

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Rock River Valley Blood Center issued a warning Wednesday that its blood supply is critically low.

The organization says the problem is affecting communities across the country.

Administrators say the need is going up with the start of summer activities and the resumption of non-essential surgeries.

“People go on trips, they go on long weekends, they’re not going to be around. So our donor room is generally empty around the 4th of July, and it’s going to be even worse this year if we don’t get people in. We’re at a very dangerous level with our blood supply,” said COO Heidi Ognibene. “We always need the O negative, we always need O positive, but right now we need every single type of blood.”

RRVBC’s collections are down about 50% this month. The difference is attributed to the fact that more people travel during the summertime.

The shortage comes in the middle of what medical professionals sometimes refer to as “trauma season.” SwedishAmerican Surgeon-in-chief, Dr. James Cole, says summer is the time when hospitals need blood the most.

“The motorcycles are on the streets, we see more motorcycle injuries. People behave a little wilder at night, get themselves in certain things that maybe they shouldn’t have,” Cole said. “They get some sort of traumatic accident or injury, and they come to us.”

Cole says one donation could potentially impact four other lives.

“The blood distribution center splits that blood into red cells, into plasma, into platelets, and into other things like cryoprecipitate,” he said. “Don’t think it’s a one-for-one phenomenon.”

For more information or how to donate or to find a mobile blood drive near you, click here.

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