NELA is on the cusp of a blood shortage

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 8:01 PM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The nation’s blood supply is dangerously low, prompting the Red Cross to announce a national blood crisis for the first time. Local blood banks and hospitals are experiencing similar supply issues.

Brandon Baker at LifeShare Blood Center said northeast Louisiana is on the cusp of a major blood shortage. He said since the pandemic began, there has been a decline in the number of people donating blood. One expert at St. Francis said they are keeping a close on the supply.

“The blood supply right now is at very low levels, as we are having another huge impact of the new COVID wave kind of go through,” said Baker.

Baker said the pandemic had an effect on blood donations. He said they’re seeing fewer people donating blood.

“We’re canceling a lot of our high school blood drives, um, as high schools are now going through a little bit of a challenge with COVID,” said the Chief Medical Officer at St. Francis, Dr. Thomas Gullatt.

Gullatt said the hospital has been navigating through the low blood levels for a while now. He said when the hospital is in crisis mode, the hospital has to space out non-elective surgeries.

“The majority of the time we are still able to provide all of the services. We just have to be cautious and do planning on what major cases that we schedule when; so we are sure we have enough supply to get folks through those cases,” said Gullatt.

Meantime, LifeShare is taking steps to get more blood donations. They are holding emergency blood drives like this one in West Monroe. Baker said every donation counts.

“It could be any of us that something happens to in a moment where we are at a hospital and in need of a blood product. If it’s me if it’s you, my mother, my father, my spouse of my children, the thing is I want to make sure that the blood product is there,” said Baker.

People sixteen or older can donate blood. To find out where and when you can donate blood, click here.

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