Red Cross struggles with blood donation shortage

The Red Cross says the blood donation shortage it's dealing with is affecting 90 hospitals they serve throughout New York State.

The Red Cross is now trying to recover after weeks of shutting down several blood donation centers across the state, due to the wild winter weather that hit the state in March.

“Even the blood drives we did hold had less people than expected, obviously because of the storm,” Patty Corvaia, a Red Cross spokesperson, told 13 WHAM News. “That caused a deficit of 1500 units we didn't collect. That's a serious impact on our blood supply.”

She says that shortage is affecting 90 hospitals they serve.

“When you're talking about 1500 units, that could impact up to 4,500 lives. People who need blood transfusions include chemotherapy patients, people who've had trauma, people who are undergoing heart surgery, organ transplants, patients who have sick cell," said Corvaia.

The Red Cross is now calling donors every day asking for help.

“I had never been called so much,” donor Marty Zess said. “Haven’t donated in about a year. Came back because of the urgent need.”

“I knew they had a shortage before the storm, then after it had to be even worse,” another donor, Amar Bhatt, added.

“It's a way of contributing and it doesn't cost you any money. You don't even have to get your check book out,” donor and volunteer Kirk Patrick said.

“We need to make sure the blood is on the shelves in every hospital we serve,” Corvaia said.

For more on how and where to donate, click here.

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