Blood shortage leaves blood bank without certain blood types

Published 12:19 am Saturday, September 5, 2020

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To The Leader

An emergency need for blood continues across the region as LifeShare Blood Center remains unable to support the need of local hospitals.

Earlier this week, LifeShare issued an emergency appeal – the first in 15 months – for blood donors after some surgeries and treatments were postponed because of the low blood supply.

Since then, LifeShare has not seen enough donors to help overcome the unprecedented deficit.

Currently, LifeShare is running on a critically low inventory and isn’t filling many hospital orders. As of Thursday morning, LifeShare did not have any units of A negative or B positive blood in Beaumont. Only two units of O negative blood were available. O negative is the universal blood type and is often given to mothers and infants.

“We would like to say we’ve seen an incredible response from the community thus far, but that’s not the case,” says LifeShare Regional Director Brooke Hulett. “The response has been mediocre, and we need big numbers in order to catch up. There are patients waiting right now.”

While red blood cells can be kept refrigerated for up to 42 days after donation, at LifeShare donated blood is only on the shelf for a few hours – sometimes minutes – before it is sent to a hospital following testing. “We have more patients waiting for blood, than donors. We have to meet that need,” says Hulett.

LifeShare continues operating on extended hours at all of its donor centers. All donor centers will be open this week Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. A list of all mobile drives can be found at The donor center in Lake Charles is scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, September 8.

LifeShare continues to reach out to businesses and churches to try to schedule blood drives. Young donors are also being asked to give. The number of young donors has dramatically decreased since the outbreak of COVID-19.