Blood Shortage Gets National Attention

COVID-19 caused overwhelming challenges to providing adequate medical care to patients, including a decline in donor turnout, blood drive cancellations, and staffing challenges. As a result, we’re experiencing the worst blood shortage in over a decade, which the American Red Cross has determined a national crisis. 


CBS reported that patients might not receive life-saving treatments if the blood supply doesn’t stabilize soon. Many blood centers only receive a day’s supply of specific blood types. Blood is used for surgeries, transplants, cancer treatments, and other serious illnesses. With the nationwide shortage, hospitals aren’t receiving all of the products they request—forcing doctors to make difficult decisions about which patients get blood.  


NPR reported that weather conditions and staffing limitations had caused a decline in blood donations throughout the pandemic. They also said that there had been a 10% blood donation decline since March 2020 and a 6.2% drop in high school and college drives during COVID-19. 

NPR provided incentives for donating, stating that the Red Cross is looking for donations of all blood types, especially Type O. The Red Cross recommends scheduling an appointment weeks ahead of time and considering scheduling additional appointments for the future as the need for blood remains constant. Additionally, the Red Cross seeks volunteers to assist at blood drives and help transport blood donations to hospitals. 

The Today Show 

The Today Show reported that Krispy Kreme recently gave away one dozen free donuts to anyone who donated blood during the last week of January. The Red Cross supplies 40% of the country’s blood, so Krispy Kreme carried out this initiative to draw awareness to the national blood shortage, showing their support for the organization and thanking the people who helped their local communities. 


NBC reported that in the face of the national blood crisis, accident victims, cancer patients, and people with blood disorders are most at risk. While some medical treatments can wait, others can’t. The Red Cross strongly urges people to donate blood to ensure that every patient receives the medical care they need without delay. 

As part of their donor initiative, the Red Cross recently offered two tickets to Super Bowl LVI with airfare and three nights of hotel accommodations to one lucky winner who donated blood in January. 

A Better Solution with Autotransfusion 

Autotransfusion — the practice of using a patient’s blood for a transfusion — can safely replace the practice of using donated blood transfusions in many instances. Autotransfusion is less expensive, offers fresh red blood cells, and reduces the risk of infection and complications. Autotransfusion provides a rapid solution when patients need blood quickly, returning their red blood cells in 3-5 minutes. 

Autotransfusion is an excellent solution for healthcare providers because it’s safer and more economically sound. You can provide better patient outcomes by reducing infection and morbidity rates, reducing the length of stay, and eliminating blood bank reserves. Learn more about how SpecialtyCare’s Autotransfusion services can help boost your hospital’s blood management program.