Over the last two years, we have highlighted a number of challenges associated with the pandemic. One of the most critical challenges we now face is the need for blood donations. Alabama, along with the rest of the nation, is experiencing a significant crisis in blood supply, and we need our communities’ help.
According to LifeSouth, the donation center that supplies blood to the majority of Alabama’s hospitals, our statewide blood supply is at “Critical” levels. That means, on average there is less than two days’ supply of blood on their shelves. If there was a car wreck or other serious trauma in some parts of the state, hospitals fear they might not have the blood needed to treat patients. Many hospital leaders consider the lack of blood donations to be an emergency situation.
COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on the number of individuals donating blood. It’s estimated that less than 10 percent of the population donates annually, and that number has been significantly lowered during the pandemic. This is concerning since the need for blood remains high; approximately one in seven people entering the hospital requires some type of blood transfusion. The good news is that for every person donating, the blood can save up to three lives.
Donating blood continues to be safe and there is no substitution for human blood. If you are eligible to donate blood, we urge you to contact a local blood center and schedule a blood donation. All types of blood are needed, particularly O-positive and O-negative blood.
We also encourage schools, colleges, churches, businesses and other organizations to host a local blood drive as soon as possible.
Again, the current blood shortage is critical, and we need the help of all Alabamians. Please consider donating this holiday season.
Rosemary Blackmon for Don Williamson, MD, President
Alabama Hospital Association