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Press release content from PR Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Critical Shortage of Blood and Blood Components

January 6, 2020 GMT
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Nathan - Blood Transfusion Recipient
1 of 2
Nathan - Blood Transfusion Recipient

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Jan. 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Vitalant, one of the largest national nonprofit blood banks, is declaring a critical shortage of blood. Vitalant serves patients in 40 states from California to New Jersey and Texas to Washington and North Dakota. This call to action comes as blood providers nationwide struggle with less than a two days’ supply of necessary blood types.

For Vitalant, the busy holiday season resulted in over 21,000 fewer donations than expected, which impacts those suffering from trauma or chronic disease. Due to the critical shortage, donors are strongly encouraged to give blood as soon as possible by calling 877-258-4825 (877-25-VITAL) or going online to vitalant.org.

“We strive to maintain a 4-day supply of blood just to provide what patients need, and currently we’re at less than half that for certain blood types,” said Dr. Ralph Vassallo, Chief Medical Officer at Vitalant. “Blood on the shelf helps patients every day—for traumas, cancer treatments and critical transfusions—and enables us to be ready if disaster strikes.”

Currently, all blood types and components are needed, with a special need for platelets and type O blood donations. Platelets have a very short shelf life—only five days. Type O-negative blood is the universal blood type that can help stabilize all patients.

Vitalant needs to collect more than 35,000 blood products per week to meet patient needs because every two seconds, someone needs blood. And even with new donations coming in daily, the demand can quickly outpace supply. Every day, patients depend on the ongoing generosity of volunteer blood donors. January is National Blood Donor Month, a perfect opportunity for new donors to step up and make blood donation a habit that can transform the lives of patients.

Who’s at risk? Everyone from accident victims to newborns to seniors who may need:

“To all the blood donors out there—you have gone above and beyond to save my son’s life. Without blood transfusions I would have lost my little boy,” said Nathan’s mom, April.

Nathan was born with a rare blood disorder that causes his red blood cells to rapidly break apart. Every month, he relies on the generosity of strangers to donate lifesaving blood—a need that will most likely continue the rest of his life. In fact, Nathan will receive his 80th blood transfusion Jan. 9. Nathan and countless other children and adults with rare blood disorders and chronic disease need donated blood regularly.

About Vitalant
Vitalant (“Vye-TAL-ent”) is the nation’s second largest community blood service provider, supplying comprehensive transfusion medicine services for nearly 1,000 hospitals and health care partners for patients in need across 40 states. Vitalant inspires local communities to serve the needs of others and transform lives through the selfless act of donating blood. Every day, almost 5,000 blood donations are needed to meet the needs of people throughout the country, and Vitalant’s 800,000 donors supply 1.8 million donations a year. In addition to blood products, Vitalant offers customers transfusion services, medical consulting, quality guidance, ongoing education, research and more. For more information and to schedule a donation, visit vitalant.org or call 877-258-4825 (877-25-VITAL). Join the conversation about impacting the lives of others on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Chandra Stewart
602.315.0043
CStewart@Vitalant.org

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SOURCE Vitalant