Hospitals cope with 'severe' blood supply shortage

Blood drive Photo credit Getty Images

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) — As things get back to normal, hospitals are seeing a rise in the number of trauma cases, organ transplants and elective surgeries.

According to the American Red Cross, this has created a “severe” blood supply shortage. It has advised hospitals across the country prioritize elective surgeries so that blood supplies can be stabilized.

“What we're seeing now is a blood shortage that really can compromise our ability to give care for these patients,” said Dr. Christina Barriteau, Medical Director of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital blood bank.

Lurie Children’s Hospital uses roughly 1,000 blood products each month. Officials have had to get creative in directing supplies, Barriteau said.

“If a patient is needing blood, you have a physician critically evaluate, okay, how many blood products do they need? Will they be okay and be able to do well clinically with just one unit of blood as opposed to two?”

Another reason for the shortage: The coronavirus pandemic brought blood-collection methods, like school blood drives or large-scale events, to a halt.

The American Red Cross expects the shortage to endure throughout the summer. Dr. Barriteau is hopeful.

“I do think that we will see more blood drives as things reopen, and so I am optimistic that it will increase the blood supply and help us get through this current shortage,” she said.

Those interested in donating blood can visit

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images