Winter Weather Impacting Blood and Platelet Donations – Milwaukee Community Journal

Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin calling on donors to help as supplies drop;

blood types O-negative, O-positive most needed

Milwaukee Feb. 16, 2021 With winter storm warnings and advisories in place across much of the Midwest, Versiti Blood Centers is grappling with low and quickly dwindling supplies of blood and platelet donations.

The unrelenting winter weather is taking its toll on the blood supply across the Midwest, said Dr. Dan Waxman, vice president of transfusion medicine and senior medical director at Versiti. Supplies of some blood types, including O-negative and O-positive, are reaching critically low levels, with less than a days supply of life-saving blood on shelves to supply Versitis hospital partners across Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. We simply do not have the three-day supply of blood that we need.

The winter weather advisories and warnings are adding to the ongoing blood collection challenges that centers have been facing during COVID due to remote work and schooling. In the past year, Versiti has experienced a 47% decrease in mobile drive collections at business and schools.

Platelets which are used to help cancer patients, trauma survivors and premature babies are only viable for five to seven days outside the body, creating a constant and ongoing need for donations. Like blood, platelets cant be manufactured, so Versiti needs volunteer donors to roll up their sleeves.

We are asking the community to step forward and help, said Dr. Waxman. Unfortunately, we cant wait a week until a cold snap subsides to provide these life-saving gifts. For these patients who rely on us, they need our help today, regardless of the weather forecast.

O-negative and O-positive blood donors are most needed now. O-negative and O-positive blood is the universal blood type, meaning donations can be transfused to all patients, including trauma victims, cancer patients and those undergoing surgery.

Badgers are needed to extend the generous gift of life to neighbors who need help and to donate blood at a Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin donor center nearest them:

Wisconsin residents can also make an appointment to donate at a local community blood drive in their area. Times, dates and locations of upcoming local drives can be found online https://donate.wisconsin.versiti.org. Interested donors should click the Schedule to Donate tab to find the nearest drive to them.

To help ensure donor safety, everyone entering Versiti facilities must wear a mask and have their temperature taken. All Versiti donation locations are practicing social distancing and closely adhering to CDC recommendations and cleaning protocols.

Donating blood takes about an hour with the actual donation taking 10-15 minutes. Anyone age 17 or older in good health who meets eligibility requirements is encouraged to give. Parental consent is required for donors age 16 to donate blood. Donors should bring a photo ID that includes their birth date.

Appointments are encouraged at any of Versitis Wisconsin donor centers or at any local community blood drive. Walk-ins are always welcome. To schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 1-877-BE-A-HERO or visit Versiti online at versiti.org/Wisconsin.

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About Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin

Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin is a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Milwaukee that specializes in blood services, esoteric diagnostic testing, organ, tissue and stem cell

donation, medical services and leading-edge research. We advance patient care by delivering life-saving products and services. For more information, visit versiti.org/Wisconsin.

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Winter Weather Impacting Blood and Platelet Donations - Milwaukee Community Journal

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