JACKSON (April 19) – LIFELINE Blood Services announced recently it has entered its most urgent critical appeal to date.
“I’m not sure there is any other way to say this: we need donors and we need them now,” said Caitlin Roach, Marketing Manager with LIFELINE. “We have never seen inventory numbers remain this low for this long at LIFELINE, and without more donors, people in need of blood in West Tennessee could die,” she added.
To illustrate the severity of the issue, these are some of the most frightening numbers on LIFELINE’s inventory shelves as of 8 a.m. on Monday, April 19:
O+ goal in stock: 142; actual: 9
A+ goal in stock: 82; actual: 2
B+ goal in stock: 37; actual: 2
O- goal in stock: 34; actual: 6.
The issue is nationwide, which hinders LIFELINE’s ability to import blood from other blood centers. The American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), America’s Blood Centers and the American Red Cross have issued a joint statement to urge eligible, healthy individuals to make and keep an appointment to donate blood now. Doing so is essential to maintaining the availability of the nation’s blood supply and ensuring life-saving treatments for patients in need.
Blood centers across the country have reported declines in blood collections in recent weeks. Some, like LIFELINE, have reported their lowest donor turnout in more than a year. These trends are concerning, as both patients and blood centers depend on the altruism of donors to ensure that blood is available for life-saving treatments.
“We are feeling the effects of the pandemic in a whole new way,” said Roach. “People are out of the habit of giving, many industries are still not hosting drives, concerns about COVID-19 linger — you name it, we are suffering from it. We are taking every possible precaution to keep our donors safe so that we can supply blood to healthcare providers across West Tennessee.”
“Another concern people have is whether or not they can give blood if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine, and the answer is yes!” said Roach. “There is no wait period to donate after receiving the vaccine. Also, if you have had COVID-19, you are able to donate blood 14 days from your diagnosis date if your symptoms have resolved. We can’t stop collecting blood because of this pandemic,” she added.
Lifeline Blood Services, located at 183 Sterling Farms Dr., is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome. However, if you would like to make an appointment, you may text the word “schedule” to 999-777 or, to speak with someone about donating blood, call 731.427.4431, ext. 0.
“We are absolutely pleading for blood. If you have been saying ‘I should go donate … ’ now is the time to say ‘I am going to make sure I donate today.’”
LIFELINE provides blood services to 20 West Tennessee counties, including 17 hospitals and 14 emergency helicopter service locations. Annually, the Center collects approximately 26,000 blood products (red cell units, platelets, plasma, etc.) to meet the needs of patients. Of that total, 75 percent of those products are usually collected on the bloodmobiles across West Tennessee. LIFELINE also provides reference lab and cross-matching services to healthcare facilities.