Novant Health experiencing blood shortage

The American Red Cross says blood donations are needed as the available supply is "dangerously...
The American Red Cross says blood donations are needed as the available supply is "dangerously low."(AP)
Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 12:49 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 17, 2021 at 5:01 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Novant Health is currently experiencing a blood shortage. They source blood products from The American Red Cross, therefore they are one of many healthcare systems impacted by the national blood shortage.

Red Cross noted that this is the worst blood shortage in over a decade.

In a statement from Novant Health, it reads in part:

“Novant Health has practices in place to effectively manage both expected and unexpected blood shortages. This includes the coordination of inventory among our facilities in addition to policies outlining the appropriate use of blood products. There may also be instances where supply levels prompt us to temporarily postpone select non-emergent procedures in order to ensure adequate reserve supply for patients in need of emergent care.”

Dr. Patrick Wilson, medical director for Novant Health Charlotte Market Acute Care Laboratories said blood is critical for trauma situations. “They need several units of blood just to get them through the initial period of resuscitation when they come into the hospital. So, any variety of situations when patients are sick, a number of blood products are an important component of their initial and ongoing management.”

A Novant Health spokesperson said even though there is a blood shortage, it’s important for patients to continue seeking care when needed.

“We’re particular concerned about the shortage . . . O-negative and O-positive and B-negative blood in particular are most in demand right now, but let me emphasize that it doesn’t matter what type you have. We need all blood types right now so we don’t just need persons with that specific blood type, it’s most important regardless of your blood type to reach out to your blood center and donate as soon as it’s possible for you to,” Wilson said.

Wilson is urging anyone who can give blood to consider donating as soon as possible.

“We’re taking a number of measures to optimize our blood utilization. The impact is minimal to our patients. The overall national shortage of blood throughout the country does have us concerned that that whole situation could change on a dime, so it’s very important now,” Wilson said.

There are a number of situations when blood is needed: “Major surgeries, for example, like cardiovascular surgeries typically require at least a few units of blood to get the patients through the surgery. Patients that are cancer patients that are undergoing chemotherapy have trouble replenishing their own blood supply as the side effects of chemotherapy. Therefore these patients have to be supported with a variety of blood products,” Wilson said.

To read more about the national blood shortage, or to find a location to donate blood, click here.

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