The non-profit that provides blood and blood products to 120 hospitals in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota is urging people to schedule appointments to give blood as soon as possible.
Claire DeRoin, spokeswoman for LifeServe Blood Center, says supplies took a heavy hit in recent days after multiple hospitals in central Iowa performed transfusions on several patients.
“Those people can receive 30 to 60 units of blood,” DeRoin says. “To put that in perspective, the average blood drive collects about 30 units, so to have one single patient receiving two entire blood drives worth of blood, that’s the reality and it puts us in a pretty scary place.”
A five-day supply of any given blood type is considered ideal, but DeRoin says it’s uncommon to have that much in stock. Supplies are now dangerously low. “A couple of our blood types are less than a two-day supply and that means it’s critical and sometimes it can even dip down to a one-day supply,” DeRoin says. “That’s when we reach out to the community and say, ‘This is an emergency, we are asking for your help, this is a critical appeal,’ so please, donate if you can.”
Blood of all types is welcome. “Really, any donor can help us out right now,” DeRoin says. “We are particularly low on O-negative and O-positive blood as well as platelets, in case there are any platelets donors. Platelets are just another component of the blood, in addition to red blood cells.”
Under a new program called “Thank The Donor,” some blood donors may later receive notes from the patients whose lives they helped to save. LifeServe has donor centers in Ames, Des Moines, Fort Dodge, Mason City, Marshalltown, Sioux City, and Urbandale.
Call 800-287-4903 or visit www.lifeservebloodcenter.org.