Every two seconds, someone in America needs blood. Unfortunately, the American Red Cross is facing a severe shortage, according to a press release from the nonprofit organization, which supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood, supports disaster victims, provides international humanitarian aid, and much more. An unprecedented number of blood drives have been canceled as a result of COVID-19 closures. With more than 80% of blood coming from donation events at businesses, schools and community centers, hundreds of thousands of contributions have been lost.
The availability of an adequate supply of lifesaving blood is key to ensuring the effective treatment of hospital patients. Healthy volunteer donors are desperately needed to replenish the supply in the coming weeks.
“As a nation, this is a time where we must take care of one another including those most vulnerable among us in hospitals,” says Gail McGovern, president and chief executive officer of the American Red Cross. “One of the most important things people can do right now during this public health emergency is to give blood. If you are healthy and feeling well, please make an appointment to donate as soon as possible.”
McGovern also notes that her organization has implemented new measures to ensure blood drives and donation centers are safe for donors and staff, including
- taking the temperatures of donors and staff
- providing hand sanitizer for use throughout the donation process
- spacing beds to follow social distancing practices between donors
- staff wearing gloves and changing gloves with each donor
- use of sterile collection sets for every donation
- enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment.
Blood is not like other therapeutic treatments. It cannot be manufactured or stockpiled, and there is no substitution that can fully replace all of its functions. Furthermore, red blood cells must be transfused within 42 days of donation; platelets within just five days. This causes unique challenges in the collection, production, inventory and distribution of blood.
Roll up your sleeves
ASCM is a proud supporter of the American Red Cross. To that end, we are working to raise awareness about its mission, especially during this very challenging time. Please join us by participating in the ASCM Sleeves Up blood drive. Pledge to give blood by scheduling an appointment with the American Red Cross at RedCrossBlood.org. You may also use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, call 800-RED-CROSS or activate the Blood Scheduling Skill for Amazon Alexa.
If you are unable to give blood, there are other ways to support the American Red Cross. Check out all of the volunteer opportunities, including transporting blood, stocking supplies and checking inventory at shelters. Finally, please consider making a donation to support urgent humanitarian needs. Together, we can make an impact and save countless lives.