Local hospitals feeling the effects of the national blood shortage

The Red Cross’s blood supply is at its lowest point its been in around 10 years
Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 4:50 PM MST
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MAGIC VALLEY, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Like countless other items in the United States, there is a shortage of blood.

“Our blood supply honestly is at the lowest point it’s been in about 10 years,” said Matt Ochsner with Red Cross Idaho and Montana. “And that is meaning that some hospitals are having to make some difficult decisions when it comes to patient care.”

The Red Cross says they’re experiencing trouble finding labor, and that’s what Ochsner says is the main contributing factor.

“Staffing shortages is one of our biggest hurdles right now. And we are very actively recruiting phlebotomists, we’re increasing our pay, we’re doing all those kinds of things,” he said.

Here in Southern Idaho, this is forcing the health system to make a tough decision.

“We’re implementing any methods to ration blood products, reviewing any elective type work that might require blood products that we need to postpone,” said Dr. James Souza of St. Luke’s.

And with the latest surge of COVID-19, things are becoming even more challenging. “We just ask that you be symptom-free for 14 days and be healthy and well when you come in to donate.”

And for those who are healthy, local doctors have one message for you. “We need you now. Join us and be part of this community effort to support one another,” said Souza.

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