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Virtual schooling, vacations trigger blood shortage in Northeast Florida

Blood shortage is nationwide and local, but the challenges differ

Blood needed for more elected surgeries
Blood needed for more elected surgeries

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The American Red Cross said there is a serious blood shortage nationwide due to an increase in trauma cases, organ transplants, and elective surgeries.

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers said the supply of blood on its shelves is running low too, but LifeSouth, which operates only locally, is facing different challenges.

“It’s really critical (when LifeSouth faces a shortage) because if we don’t have the donors right here locally, we can’t just have it shipped in from somewhere else because we’re all in this together,” said Karen Patterson, LifeSouth Community Development Coordinator. "

Patterson said several factors are contributing to the shortage.

“We still have the COVID situation that we’re dealing with, so unfortunately that also means lot of high schools and college students are working remotely right now, so those donors just aren’t coming in like we’re used to,” explained Patterson. “Also in the summer months, we do have travel as well and then you tie that in with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s just been a perfect storm.”

LifeSouth is in critical need of Type O blood donations, but Patterson said it needs all blood types.

“The need for blood does not take a vacation,” said Patterson.

According to Patterson, one donation can save up to three lives.

“It’s just one little pinch and you’ll save three lives in just 45 minutes,” explained Patterson. “1 of 3 people will need blood in their lifetime so when you really stop to think about it, it’s a huge need and unlike other collection agencies, we’re community-based so all the blood that we collect stays right here for people that need it.”

Lee Stennett and his wife gave blood at the LifeSouth Donor Center on Monday. Stennett gives blood every three months for medical reasons.

“I heard a lady before speaking that one pint of blood can save three lives, that’s amazing,” said Stennett. “Especially the O-negative blood that I have, it’s just an amazing feeling and I do it for myself and the other people who need it.”

To donate blood, visit LifeSouth.org.

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