Last week’s snow, ice, drifts and road closures kept many Iowans inside and now blood supplies are running low. Lisa Kuska, spokeswoman for the Heartland Chapter of the American Red Cross in Omaha/Council Bluffs, says donations are needed.
Kuska says "During the storms last week, we lost more than 500 blood donations of both whole blood and platelet donations." Kuska says donations were already low before the blizzard hit but now the situation is much worse.
Kuska says "That does put our blood supply at risk. We need a constant, steady supply of donors to insure that we have blood products available for our patients." Kuska says it’s extremely important that they rebuild the blood supply as soon as possible. She says "Our blood supply is less than a two-day blood supply. We really like to be at a five-to-seven day blood supply to make sure we are adequately prepared for emergencies."
The Siouxland Community Blood Bank, based in Sioux City, has put out an urgent call for blood donors in the area after the winter storm last week drew down their blood reserves. Blood Bank Director Jan Twait says their problem is the same — thirteen blood drives had to be canceled because of the storm.
"From those 13 blood drives, we had about 500 units of blood that we were not able to collect." Still, during the whole time, people in hospitals were still getting transfusions and using up the blood supply on hand. That left them unable to replace the supply being used, or stock up for this week.
Twait says they knew the storm was coming, and the blood bank did its best to prepare, producing extra platelets and red blood early last week before the storms hit. It’s a continuing thing, she says — blood needs are ongoing. They have to work six days out of seven to collect blood supplies to keep up with that need, and when you can only produce four days out of seven, there’s a problem. As the storm approached, Twait says they knew that once they were able to get back on the road they were going to need to collect as much blood as possible. She says it’s been many years since the blood bank had to close for 72 hours, but it did last week.
Both say there is a special need for Type "O" and the R-H negative types. To find a place to donate, surf to " www.givelife.org " or call 800-Give-Life.