Blood supply faces biggest shortage in more than a decade

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Posted at 5:25 PM, Dec 16, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The American Red Cross is in need of blood donations as they face their biggest shortage in more than a decade.

The shortage impacts hospitals and patients all over the United States, including Tennessee at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

"Turnout has plummeted in recent months amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," a release from the Tennessee Region of the Red Cross said.

According to the release, the blood supply needs to constantly be refreshed because the blood components have a short shelf-life. It also takes time to get to the patients. It takes up to three days for blood to be tested, processed and get to them.

Blood banks have been feeling the pinch of the supply shortage for months. In July, Vanderbilt University Medical Center's blood bank medical director put out a statement for how severe the problem is.

"This is the worst it's ever been," Dr. Jennifer Andrews told NewsChannel 5 back in the summer.

If the need for rationing becomes a reality, the blood bank has a patient prioritization system. It outlines what the patient needs to be experiencing to get the blood products.

Visit the American Red Cross' website for information on how to donate blood.