The American Red Cross says it is experiencing a national blood crisis, its worst blood shortage in over a decade.
The organization says blood and platelet donations are critically needed to ensure patients can receive the medical treatments they need without delay.
According to the Red Cross, the crisis has forced doctors to make decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will have to wait until more blood products are available.
"While some types of medical care can wait, others can’t," said Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer of the Red Cross, said in a news release. "Hospitals are still seeing accident victims, cancer patients, those with blood disorders like sickle cell disease, and individuals who are seriously ill who all need blood transfusions to live even as Omicron cases surge across the country. We’re doing everything we can to increase blood donations to ensure every patient can receive medical treatments without delay, but we cannot do it without more donors. We need the help of the American people."
According to the organization, the Red Cross has had to limit blood distributions to hospitals in recent weeks. On certain days, some hospitals may not receive as much as one-quarter of the blood products requested, the organization says.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Red Cross has seen a 10% decline in the number of people donating blood, the organization says. The pandemic has brought further challenges like blood drive cancellations and staffing limitations.
The Red Cross also says it has experienced low donor turnout since the delta variant began spreading in August, a trend that is continuing with omicron.
The organization says all blood types are needed at this time, especially types O positive and O negative, as well as platelet donations.
For information on how to donate and schedule an appointment visit RedCrossBlood.org