National Blood Shortage Could Affect Southeast Ohio Supply< < Back to
NEW LEXINGTON, Ohio – Hospitals are dealing with a nationwide blood shortage, stemming from increased elective surgeries and injuries after pandemic restrictions were lifted.
The shortage could affect local hospitals and people who live in southeast Ohio.
O’Bleness Hospital became more thoughtful about how it uses blood donations shared through the OhioHealth network as a result.
The smaller hospital doesn’t typically use large amounts of blood like larger hospitals in the region, including Riverside Methodist Hospital or Grant Medical Center in Columbus. Instead, it is designed to send its more severe cases to larger hospitals after it stabilizes patients.
“Everyone’s working really hard to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to help protect the blood supply that we have, and making sure that there’s not any extraneous usage of the blood,” Dr. Lucy Bucher, the senior director of medical affairs at O’Bleness and a practicing OB-GYN, said.
O’Bleness is part of the OhioHealth network, which shares blood supply through the hospitals.
For people who receive blood in more routine treatments and not during life threatening emergencies, Bucher said doctors are working to use alternatives to treatments. Someone with a chronic iron deficiency, for example, might receive iron treatments instead of a blood transfusion.
In addition to efforts at hospitals throughout the region, the Red Cross put operations into overdrive to keep up the blood supply during the shortage.
Students from local high schools in Athens and Morgan County and Ohio University make up the majority of blood donations in the region. Summers are always tough for the Red Cross, and it has been up to local communities to keep up donations. Summer is usually a time of greater need for blood in normal years because of the additional travel, however, this year has added challenges with the return of elective surgeries.
“We have less than half of a day’s blood supply of donors,” Jordan Fornash-Wellinghoff said. ”That’s a really sad thing when you think about it. We want to be able to support not only our community, but our state and our nation. So it’s very critical for those volunteer blood donors to come in.”
Brinley Boyd is one of the many people in southeast Ohio who have regularly needed blood transfusions.
Carmen Boyd documented her 10-year-old daughter Brinley’s treatments for leukemia on their Facebook page, Brinley’s Buddies.
Brinley received more than 100 blood transfusions during her treatment. Carmen said it was more than that, but they lost track after 100.
Carmen organized a blood drive in New Lexington to help support people the same way Brinley was supported.
“Brinley needed so many transfusions throughout her cancer journey, and so we just wanted to help pay it forward to help others,” Boyd said.
Brinley’s Buddies Facebook Page has over 11,000 followers, and 87 donors came out to Brinley’s blood drive.
Lori Gaitten is an account manager for the Red Cross who helped with Brinley’s drive last week.
“We’re very fortunate right now that people are hearing our call to action, and they are responding, and they’re coming to give. We want that to continue not just this week and next week, but through the summer because blood shortages aren’t just something that goes away in a few days.”
There is a need for all blood types, but especially for Type O negative, the universal donors.
Throughout the region, there are multiple blood drives, including many with donation incentives. Depending on the location, donors can receive a free Cedar Parks ticket for any location, including Kings Island and Cedar Point. Other incentives vary by location, but can include buy-one-get-one-free Columbus Zoo tickets and $5 gift cards for to restaurant and retail establishments..
There are multiple blood drives throughout the area, and you can schedule a donation appointment at redcross.org.