Blood supply critically low throughout Chicagoland

Surgeries cancelled, organ transplant patients affected

information provided by Vitalant

LANSING, Ill. (January 23, 2019) – The blood supply is at critically low levels throughout the entire Chicagoland region, according to Vitalant (formerly LifeSource), which reports that it’s down to just 1-1/2 day’s blood supply on hand.

The recent bout of severe winter weather and an active cold and flu season are affecting blood centers all across the country. In Chicago, the shortage has impacted many area hospitals, some of which have been forced to postpone surgeries, including those involving life-saving organ transplants.

Currently, there’s a critical need for platelets and type O blood donations; however, all blood types are needed. In emergency situations, when a patient’s blood type isn’t known, doctors reach for type O blood first until the patient can be stabilized. Platelets have a very short shelf life—only five days.

Locally, Vitalant (“Vye-TAL-ent”) needs to collect at least 400 donations of all types per week to replenish the supply and meet the needs of area patients. The blood center strives to maintain a
three-day supply of type O blood, but currently is at half of that amount.

In late December and early January, blood donations were down 47 percent locally in comparison to the first two weeks of December.

Donors are encouraged to give blood in the coming days to immediately rebuild the community blood supply. Vitalant operates 17 area donation centers which will have extended hours for the next week. To schedule an appointment, go to vitalant.org or call 877-258-4825.

Volunteer blood donors must be at least 16 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in general good health. Donors who are 16 must have signed permission from a parent or guardian.

The Lansing Vitalant donation center is located at 2 River Oaks Drive, in the plaza just south of Culver’s.

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