National Blood Shortage


American Red Cross

The American Red Cross Blood Donor app home screen, showing images that represent from left to right, plasma, blood, power red, and platelets.

With the extreme weather conditions in various parts of the country, the American Red Cross blood bank is experiencing a shortage. There are areas in the country that have had to cancel blood drives, and with winter being the time where blood is most needed, this is a frightening prospect.

About 38% of the American population is eligible to donate blood, but only 3% of the population actually does. Blood and platelets cannot be manufactured, meaning that without donors, there is no way for people who need such products to get transfusions.

The American Red Cross relies solely upon volunteer donors for blood and other blood products, meaning that it’s up to everyone to help supply the blood bank and ensure that those who are in need can have enough to survive.

Many people need blood, platelets and plasma every day. Thousands of children are born every year with sickle cell anemia, a disease that requires those who have it to receive transfusions their entire lives. Certain types of cancer patients require platelets, a blood component that helps with clotting, though many are unable to undergo treatments or procedures due to the lack of donations. From illnesses to car accident victims, there is never not a need for blood product donations.

If you wish to learn more about the blood donation process, all you need to do is go to where you can read about the different procedures and how blood products are handled after donation. The website also has information on drives near you, though the American Red Cross does have a Blood Donor app that allows for people to find drives, view their previous donations, and look up information about the whole process.

The American Red Cross mission statement is to prevent and alleviate the pain of the suffering, though this can only be done “by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.” If you are willing and able, please consider donating and joining in the cause to save lives.