The year may be winding down, but the demand for blood from Iowa hospitals is rising while the number of blood donors is dwindling.
Josh Murray, regional communications director for the Iowa-Nebraska Region of the American Red Cross, says the agency is making an appeal for everyone who’s able to give a pint.
“Our donor turnout is still down. People have been kind of slow coming back after the pandemic to give,” Murray says. “Also, we’re seeing a rise in hospital demand. They’re doing more elective surgeries that maybe they didn’t do during the height of the pandemic. There’s some other cases that they need more blood for treatments that maybe they couldn’t do in the past year.”
Several blood drives are planned in Iowa during December, which Murray says is a welcome change since so many had to be called off during the pandemic. “We’re excited to get more blood drives on the calendar, more opportunities for people to give,” Murray says. “This is traditionally a tough time to collect blood with the holidays, everyone is busy, the weather is going to get nasty here soon and we’ll have to deal with that. We have an opportunity for people to get out, help us collect that blood so we can be able to provide that to hospitals and to patients in need.”
Blood products are perishable and Murray says the only source of lifesaving blood for patients is volunteer blood donors. “Type O is always in need, that’s universal and the most transfused type, but really all blood types are in need right now,” Murray says. “We’re seeing a shortage across the board. We encourage everyone, no matter what your blood type, to consider giving blood. If you’re an O, that is even more significant right now.”
Blood can be safely donated every 56 days and Murray says donors can feel good knowing that by donating through the Red Cross, they may be helping patients not only in their community but also others across the nation.
Blood drives are planned in the following cities: Omaha-Council Bluffs on December 20th, Cedar Rapids on December 22nd, Des Moines on December 23rd, South Sioux City on December 30th, and Cedar Falls on December 30th.