Versiti Blood Center of Michigan has issued an emergency appeal for blood donations, pleading with community members to make an appointment to donate blood in the coming days. Heading into the fall, Versiti has seen a drastic drop in scheduled appointments, with nearly 3,000 open appointments over the next seven days.
“This is the lowest our blood inventory has been in over a year, which could mean that blood is not available when it’s needed the most,” said Dr. Dan Waxman, vice president of transfusion medicine and senior medical director at Versiti. “We are seeing fewer first-time donors walking through our doors, which is adding to an already dangerous situation, and we need the community to step up and donate.”
Versiti estimates that around 20 percent of its donors are first-time donors; unfortunately, more than 50 percent of those donors only donate once. With an aging donor base and increased need, first-time blood donors are desperately needed.
“Our loyal donors continue to hear our pleas and roll up their sleeves, for which we are extremely grateful,” added Dr. Waxman. “However, if every eligible donor could pledge to donate at least twice by the end of the year and encourage a friend or family member to give blood donation a try as well, the impact on the local blood supply would be significant and save lives.”
While Versiti strives for a three-day supply of available blood for local hospitals, the organization currently has less than a one-day supply on the shelves. Not only does this potentially put people’s lives at risk, but it limits the ability to respond to the need for blood should the unexpected occur.
All blood types are needed, with types O-positive and O-negative most in demand. O-positive is the most common blood type, while O-negative blood is the universal type that can be received safely by all patients in emergencies when the blood type is unknown.