Versiti - ALERT: Illinois Experiencing Emergency Blood Shortage | Press Releases | Versiti

Press Release

ALERT: Illinois Experiencing Emergency Blood Shortage

Chicago — June 24, 2024

Patient Care at Risk, Versiti Blood Center of Illinois Issues Plea for Donors

Versiti Blood Center of Illinois has issued an emergency appeal for blood donations due to a dangerously low blood supply. Certain blood types have less than a day's worth of availability, endangering the lives of local patients. Summer donations have plummeted to critical levels, with over 4,963 appointments missed in the past month alone.

All blood types are needed, with O-positive and O-negative being the most in demand. O-positive is the most common blood type, while O-negative blood is the universal type that can be safely received by all patients in emergencies when the blood type is unknown.

"We know summer is a challenging time for blood donation, and we plan for it every year, but what we see today is dire," said Dr. Dan Waxman, vice president of transfusion medicine and senior medical director at Versiti. "Patients’ lives are at risk. If you are healthy and able, we are pleading with you to donate blood this week.”

In addition to unfilled appointments and a rise in cancellations and no-shows, Versiti’s partner hospitals have required a significant volume of blood this past month to support organ transplant procedures and other traumas. 

"The demand for blood simply does not match the number of donors coming through our doors," added Waxman. "While we deeply appreciate our loyal donors who consistently show up, it's important to recognize that about 3 percent of people who are eligible to donate blood actually do. If it's been a while since your last donation or you're a first-time donor, we are excited to welcome you."

What happens if blood is not available for patients?

  • When the local blood inventory gets as low as it is now, it jeopardizes the health and safety of patients who rely on life-saving blood transfusions. In some cases, hospitals are forced to postpone surgeries or delay critical treatments.
  • Trauma victims from car accidents or shootings are at the highest risk, as their survival often depends on a healthy blood inventory. If these types of cases occur in the coming days, we might not have the blood needed to keep them alive.
  • Patients undergoing organ transplants and battling cancer, and even mothers in labor, could face treatment delays or complications due to a limited blood supply.

To schedule an appointment to donate blood, call (800) 786-4483 or visit Walk-in donors are also welcome.

Donor center locations:

Donating blood takes about an hour. Anyone aged 16 or older who is in good health and meets eligibility requirements is encouraged to give. Parental consent is required for donors aged 16 to donate blood. Donors should bring a photo ID that includes their birth date.

# # #

About Versiti Blood Center of Illinois

Versiti Blood Center of Illinois is a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Aurora, IL. that specializes in blood products and services and provides expert medical and technical support. Founded in 1943, it is the oldest blood center in Illinois and serves patients at more than 85 hospitals in Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. It operates 12 donor centers and conducts nearly 2,200 blood drives annually at area hospitals, churches, businesses, schools and community centers. To learn more, visit


Media Contact
Kristin Paltzer
Action Needed: Versiti Blood Centers Urge Community to Donate and Prevent Blood Shortage
Versiti is urging community members across its five-state footprint to donate blood. The blood and blood products provider to approximately 200 hospitals across Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, is experiencing an urgent need for donated blood.
ALERT: Indiana Experiencing Emergency Blood Shortage
Versiti Blood Center of Indiana has issued an emergency appeal for blood donations due to a dangerously low blood supply.