Monroe blood bank faces major shortage

LifeShare Blood Center faces major shortage amidst pandemic
Center in desperate need of B and O type blood
Published: Dec. 17, 2020 at 12:35 AM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) LifeShare Blood Center in Monroe is in desperate need of the public’s help. The blood supply there is dangerously low. But the good news? It’s pretty simple to donate. People who work at the center say the entire process can be relatively quick but to allot around 45 minutes, including paperwork.

The shelves in the blood bank were bare and blood bags were empty Tuesday.

“Going into the holiday season, we are in need of every donation we can get,” said Brandon Baker, the regional director for LifeShare.

People who donate typically give about a pint of blood. It’s just as important as ever to maintain the blood supply and meet the demand.

Baker said Northeast Louisiana is particularly in need of type “B” and “O” blood but of course, all donations are welcome.

“Our O and B type blood types are the two blood types we are in need of. We use a lot of that blood product, as well as our blood being a little bit more rare. We’re not having a lot of B blood type donors coming in to donate since its so rare; we have a lower inventory of it. "

After the blood is collected from donors, it is stored in the facility refrigerator, then it is shipped off to a LifeShare lab where it is tested for different things to make sure the blood is safe to be given to patients in need.

“For our current levels of O positive, O positive, O negative, B positive, A positive, all those inventory levels are low so we are in need of blood and asking anyone who is eligible and has the ability to come out and donate,” Baker pleaded.

However, it’s not just blood that the bank is collecting.

“During this time, we’re actually doing an antibody promotion where we are going to be testing everybody’s blood for antibodies for COVID-19 and if you have a positive antibody test we’ll reach out to you to try to get you scheduled to see if you can come in and donate convalescent plasma to help our COVID patients in the hospitals across our community,” Baker added.

He said plasma is playing a major role in assisting COVID-19 patients and the bank will accept plasma from anyone willing to give it. He urges the community to do just that.

“Donating blood is an essential necessity to our community.”

Baker also said the holidays are a time for giving, and after everything the blood bank has been through, they could use the community’s help to get their stock back up.

“To say the least, it is a time of giving, and we would love for anybody who is looking for something to do to come on down and give back to the community.”

Click here to schedule an appointment to donate blood and learn more about how you can give back to your community.

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