By Lara Plamer
Since early August of 2023, there has been a shortage of blood donations, leading to a vulnerability where hospitals are losing blood supply for patients. According to the Red Cross, they only saw 500,000 blood donations the previous year compared to the 800,000 of 2019 before the pandemic.
The Red Cross has said that the reason for the shortage is a combination of people who work from home due to Covid-19 have less of an opportunity to participate in business-sponsored blood drives, which certainly made it convenient for the workers, and climate-driven disasters such as hurricanes and fires which make it difficult for people to donate.
They have said that all blood types are welcome, but have a special need for Type O. The reason for this specific type is due to its use as a universal blood type. O negative blood is only 7% of the population, but it is also used in emergency transfusions and immune deficient infants. Type O positive is in high demand as well because it is the most common blood type of the general population.
A short survey was taken at Lenape Technical School and 56% of students interviewed said they would donate blood. The general reasoning was that if they don’t need it, why not donate the blood for others and save lives. On the other hand, the percentage of people who said no was 44%. Their reasoning was either fear of needles or that when they try to donate blood, a vein is never found, and they end up bruised or minorly injured.
With the new year starting, people are urged to donate blood. There is a hope that 2024 will be the time to fix the national supply of blood and help save lives.