Nation experiences severe blood shortage as patients return to hospitals

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Transplant and elective surgeries were put on hold as front-line health care workers battled the coronavirus pandemic.

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But now, there is an influx of patients coming back to hospitals for care. 

However, the American Red Cross says the nation is experiencing a severe blood shortage with the supply nearing depletion, a threat to doctors trying to provide proper treatment.

“We essentially have less than a day’s worth of blood to provide for these transfusions,” said LaMar Holliday, regional communications director of the American Red Cross Indiana Region. “So, that is why the situation is so severe.”

But it’s not just about elective surgeries and transplants, Holliday says. Trauma cases are also on the rise making donations even more critical. 

While all types of blood are needed, it’s those with Type O in particular that are needed most. Type O-negative is the universal blood type and is used in cases of trauma, emergency surgery and any situation where blood type is unknown.  

Holliday also points to the lift in pandemic restrictions for the shortage. 

“We understand it’s summertime and people want to get out after COVID-19 and spend time with family and we think those two things combined have put us in this position. But if you have an hour of your time … one donation can save up to three lives.”

The Red Cross website allows people to find a donation site and make an appointment.


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