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Press Release

ALERT: Michigan Experiencing Emergency Blood Shortage

Grand Rapids — July 08, 2024

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

Versiti Blood Center of Michigan 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 dropped drastically, reaching a critical low. Last week, Versiti recorded its lowest donation count of the year. To meet the needs of hospitals and ensure they have enough blood for patients, 4,000 donors are urgently needed in the next seven days.

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 (866) 642-5663 or visit versiti.org. 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.

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ABOUT VERSITI BLOOD CENTER OF MICHIGAN

Versiti Blood Center of Michigan, formerly Michigan Blood, has collected blood throughout the state since 1955. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, the non-profit organization provides blood products and services to 87 Michigan hospitals. Versiti collects more than 143,000 units of blood each year in Michigan at 10 donation centers and through the operation of more than 4,700 community blood drives throughout the state.

Media Contact
Kristin Paltzer
 
ALERT: Ohio Experiencing Emergency Blood Shortage
Versiti Blood Center of Ohio 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.