American Red Cross Blood Crisis – How to Help Save Lives

graphic of blood bag and heart

American Red Cross Blood Crisis – How to Help Save Lives

A few days ago, the American Red Cross announced it was facing its worst blood shortage in over a decade. The drop in donations led the organization to declare its first-ever blood crisis in our country.

Blood is needed to save the lives of thousands of patients each year. Unfortunately, blood donor turnout has declined in the last couple of years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Red Cross reported a 10% reduction in overall donors since the pandemic started.

In addition, the recent surge due to Omicron created even more staffing and donor challenges, with many medical professionals and donors falling ill. These additional challenges mean many blood drives had to be canceled, causing further shortages.

man wearing Blood Donor shirt

Why Blood Donations Matter

Blood is needed to treat and save the lives of thousands of patients every year. Unfortunately, with the current shortage, it means doctors in hospitals and Emergency Rooms across the nation must make tough decisions. Doctors now have to decide who receives a blood transfusion now and who will have to wait until more blood becomes available. Still, for many patients, the blood may not arrive in time.

Doctors can sometimes hold off the need for a blood transfusion, but it’s a matter of life and death in other cases. Hospitals and emergency rooms have difficulty treating accident victims, patients with blood disorders like sickle cell disease, cancer patients, and critically ill patients because of the shortage.

That is why the Red Cross needs our help in increasing the number of donors. Remember, labs can’t manufacture blood and platelets; the blood available to hospitals and ER’s all comes from donors

woman donating blood

Blood Transfusion Statistics in America

According to the American Red Cross, this is how much blood transfusions and donations are needed:

  • Every 2 seconds, someone in the U.S. requires blood and or platelets
  • One donation can help save up to three lives
  • Every day patients in the U.S. need approximately 29,000 units of red blood cells
  • The average red blood cell transfusion is around three units
  • Nearly 5,000 units of platelets and 6.500 units of plasma are needed daily
  • About 16 million blood components are transfused each year in America
  • Between 90,000 and 100,000 Americans have sickle cell disease, and close to 1,000 babies are born with the illness every year. Many sickle cell patients require blood transfusions throughout their lives
  • One car crash victim may need as many as 100 units of blood
  • The blood type most often requested by hospitals is Type O

Although Type 0 blood is the most in-demand, donations from all other blood types are just as welcomed.

Blood droplets with blood type letters cartoon

How You Can Help End the Blood Crisis in America

Altus Emergency Centers is joining efforts with the American Red Cross to promote more blood drives in our communities and help end the blood crisis.

Please join us at the Altus location nearest to you to donate blood. Your act of generosity could be the life-saving miracle a family is praying for.

Upcoming Blood Donation Campaigns




Details Coming Soon!

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