American Red Cross sounding the alarm over 'critical need'

Published: Jul. 5, 2017 at 3:41 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 5, 2017 at 5:51 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A critical blood shortage across the U.S. is prompting the American Red Cross and hospital officials to sound the alarm.

"We have some shelves that are full," says Valesia Burgess, the manager at Palmetto Health Richland Hospital's blood bank. "Some shelves that are barely full, and then we do have an empty O positive shelf, which we haven't had in a long time."

According to the Red Cross, blood donations have fallen short over the past two months. Nationwide, there have been 61,000 fewer donations. In South Carolina alone, there have been more than 560 fewer donations in the past two months.

"Nonstop madness some days," says Palmetto Health Richland's Trauma Medical Director, Dr. Mark Jones, " and this time of year it's definitely our busy time.

Palmetto Health Richland Hospital is a Level I Trauma Center. Dr. Jones says traumatic injuries skyrocket in the summer months.

"When we're in the heat of what we do especially in trauma or bad traumas where there's a lot of blood loss, we just expect the blood's going to be available."

Every two seconds in the U.S., blood, and platelets are desperately needed to respond to the accident and burn victim emergencies, heart surgeries, and organ transplant procedures, as well as patients receiving cancer treatments.

That means the Red Cross needs to collect 14,000 blood donations every day.

If you'd like to find a donation location near you, head to

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