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Severe blood shortage, donors needed

Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 1:56 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - There is a dire need for blood and the Red Cross is asking donors to step up and help.

Tom Hinman, the market manager for the American Red Cross Northern New England says, “the blood shortage is as low as I’ve seen it in the 8 years that I’ve worked for the Red Cross.”

Hinman is responsible for the blood drive program in Maine. He says several factors have contributed to this blood shortage perfect storm.

“Obviously covid is still an issue across the northern tear of our country. Donors are stretched thin with a lot of different initiatives that are going on in their life between their work, their home, their ability to get out into the community and donate. And the third issue is just a shortage of staffing across the Country and every region has these three issues to some degree or another.”

Hinman says this has led to a life or death situation for some. “You can only postpone your treatment so long if you’re a cancer patient, if you’re a trauma patient, obviously the need is right now. In some parts of the Country, you know, elective surgeries are having to be curtailed due to the need for blood for trauma, for cancer patients other more critical needs.”

While all blood types are needed, Hinman says the biggest need is for people with type O blood, both those with negative and positive blood types. He says Northern New England provides 50% of the type O blood donors for the country.

“Less than 3% of the population donates and that 3% that’s donating is getting older and is aging out of the ability to donate for various reasons. So, we need to replace our donor base with younger, healthy eligible donors all the time.” according to Hinman.

He adds the holidays are a difficult time to get blood donations, due to the busyness of the season, but for anyone willing, there are options available. For more information you can visit the Red Cross Website at Redcrossblood.org.

And Hinman adds if you sign up for an appointment, it’s important that you show up or let them know that you will be unable to make that appointment.

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