EMERGENCY NEED: East Alabamians urged to give blood amid shortage

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FILE – In this Thursday, March 26, 2020 file photo, vials of blood for testing and a donated bag of blood will be sent for testing and use at an American Red Cross blood drive at the Carbondale YMCA in Carbondale, Pa. On Thursday, April 2, 2020, the U.S. government eased restrictions on blood donations from gay men and other key groups because of a drop in the nation’s blood supply triggered by the coronavirus outbreak. (Jake Danna Stevens/The Times-Tribune via AP)

OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – The pandemic continues wreaking havoc on our nation’s blood supply. This summer could be even worse as vaccines, and fewer restrictions coax families out of the house leading to a potential for emergency blood needs without the supply to fill it.

East Alabama Medical Center and LifeSouth are urging all who can to please donate. The emergency shortage of blood is problematic for all local hospitals supplied by LifeSouth.

“We have been in emergency need for several months because COVID is drastically impacting collections. I have noticed in the last few days I cringe when I see the hospital requests, and I know we aren’t going to be able to fill them at 100-percent,” said Maggie Blaedow, LifeSouth Regional Manager.

For now, East Alabama Medical is not delaying or postponing elective surgeries. The concern is for emergencies where blood units are needed quickly.

“I would say emergencies are the most worrisome and not being able to give a patient what they need and what is compatible to their blood type,” explained Jarrett Loveless, EAMC’s Lab manager.

Many of LifeSouth’s blood supplies are less than a one-day supply, with many blood types on backorder. The shortage is especially concerning during summer when kids are out of school, families are traveling, and the risk for critical injuries tick up.

“We never want to be in a position where our hospitals don’t have what they need to fulfill the needs of a loved one,” said Blaedow.

Donating is relatively painless; you’ll only feel the needle stick. The process takes less than 30 minutes, and with each donation saving up to three lives, the feeling of supporting your community during tragedy is priceless.

Please, the following link for more information on setting up an appointment to donate or bring a bloodmobile to your business: LifeSouth Give local. Save locally.

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