Right now, the United States is facing a critical blood shortage. Several of the major blood organizations in the U.S. explain how they are unable to help as many individuals as they would like due to this crisis.
On their website, the Red Cross states: “The Red Cross is experiencing the worst blood shortage in over a decade. The dangerously low blood supply levels have forced some hospitals to defer patients from major surgery, including organ transplants. Your donation is desperately needed.”
Vitalant, another blood donation company, is also affected by the current crisis. In January, they said that “a national blood shortage is further stressing the nation’s fragile healthcare system. Vitalant, which services about 900 hospitals across 28 states, currently has a historic, two-year low blood supply. The fast-spreading Omicron variant is the latest COVID-19 complication forcing additional community blood drives to cancel and lessening the number of healthy and available donors.”
In addition, americasblood.org notes how 19 percent of its donation centers have a “one-day supply or less.” For this reason, every individual who is reading this should donate blood if he or she is able to.
Unfortunately, when learning about our current blood shortage, many will admit that the fact is concerning but will not do anything to help solve the issue.
Sometimes, it can be easy to assume that someone else will address the problem, eliminating any need for personal action.
This principle applies to many other areas of life where professionals are the only ones suited to address a certain crisis. However, when it comes to a lack of blood donations, individual communities are responsible.
It is not abnormal for healthy individuals simply not to think about others need for blood or platelets. There is no shame in this fact as we tend only to think about what we understand or experience.
However, those fortunate in this regard should seriously consider setting up an appointment to donate blood to help those who are unfortunate. Healthy individuals should think about children with cancer or a parent with a life-threatening disease since blood transfusions are especially needed for cancer patients undergoing radiation or chemotherapy.
Eligible individuals should think about how an hour of their time could save another’s life. While we are engaged in life’s hecticness and busyness, it can be easy to forget that not everyone has the adequate health or energy levels to do anything other than being at hospitals, doctor’s offices or various medical appointments.
I have witnessed my 11-year-old brother, who has brain cancer, receive a blood transfusion. He sincerely appreciated the stranger’s generosity and it was comforting to know how another’s selflessness helped my brother’s mental and physical health. However, the blood supply shortage could delay these transfusions and make blood less accessible for children and adults who are in a situation similar to that of my brother.
Thankfully, setting up an appointment is easy and accessible. Those in Lubbock can visit vitalant.org and schedule a free blood donation at the donation center on 2523 48th St. Currently, Vitalant offers free COVID-19 platelet testing, free blood type testing and a free mini-phsycial. Vitalant also offers donors free drinks and snacks after the donation.
In addition, Columbia University Irving Medical Center states that “Regular blood donation is linked to lower blood pressure and a lower risk for heart attacks.” As this shows that the benefits of donating blood are plentiful, individuals should be even more convinced to consider donating blood.
Vitalant’s website has a list of eligibility requirements for those interested in donating. I invite all who are reading this to visit the website and see if they are eligible to potentially save or improve a life.
In a world of sickness, loss and hurt, we need more volunteers, donors and a general concern for the well-being of others.