A byproduct of COVID-19 has been a historic low in blood supply. Judi Spadoni, Alverno Laboratories’ site director at Franciscan Health Dyer since 2005 and a lab tech for more than 40 years, said she’s never seen blood supplies at this low of a level. “This time of year is traditionally when we see lower blood supply because people are on vacation so they don’t donate as much, but what’s been unique this summer is we are seeing a much more significant low and all blood types have been impacted,” Spadoni stated.
All blood types are needed now, especially O-negative and O-positive types. O-negative donors are universal blood donors, meaning their red blood cells can be transfused to all patients, said Versiti Vice President of Transfusion Services and Senior Medical Officer Dr. Dan Waxman.
“We have lost more than 4,000 blood donations in Indiana and hundreds of local community blood drives have been canceled since the onset of coronavirus in early March,” Waxman said. “People battling cancer, surgery patients and trauma victims need life-saving blood every day. Donating blood is safe. We’re appealing to Hoosiers throughout the state to help save lives by donating blood.”
Spadoni’s hospital runs blood drives, but because of COVID-19, recent blood drives at that location have been limited to employees only. Spadoni said her hospital as well as others are doing their best to conserve blood, especially Type O. Protocols have been put in place to allow extra time for blood testing patients, to avoid using Type O blood whenever possible, but the urgency of some situations at times prevents that.
Spadoni’s concerns are not unique. MedPage Today recently reported that “concerns about a national blood shortage are emerging.” Quartz noted that large percentages of blood drives were canceled or postponed throughout the United States in recent months as well.
“If you’re donating blood, you’re a hero,” expressed Spadoni. “If you’re coming out and donating during this pandemic, you’re a hero. There’s someone out there who will need this blood and if you’re donating, you’re literally saving someone’s life.” Spadoni expressed that donating now requires bravery. “People will have to be brave enough to come out and donate,” she continued. “And note that all the blood collection facilities are providing proper safety precautions and adhering to regulations.”
Donating blood takes about an hour and anyone age 17 or older in good health who meets eligibility requirements is encouraged to give. Parental consent is required, however, for individuals who are age 16 to donate blood. Donors should bring a photo ID that includes their date of birth. Appointments are encouraged at any of Versiti’s seven donor centers in Indiana and at any local community blood drive, but walk-ins are always welcome. To schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 317-916-5150 or visit Versiti online at http://www.versiti.org/Indiana. Illinoisans are also needed to help with the blood supply shortage affecting Chicago and Chicagoland. For more information and how to give blood to support the Chicago area, visit https://www.versiti.org/ways-to-give/our-communities/illinois.
Alverno partners with 32 hospitals in Illinois and Indiana, including Franciscan Health Dyer.
Alverno, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, is one of the largest integrated laboratory networks in the United States. It owns and operates hospital laboratories in Illinois and Indiana, and features a central laboratory performing both clinical and anatomic pathology. Alverno’s innovative, state-of-the-art laboratory offers cost effective testing and personalized customer service, with advanced technology and testing in Precision Medicine/Next-Gen Sequencing, toxicology and other specialty testing. Alverno Laboratories’ on-site pathologists are part of the pathology practice of Pathology Consultants, Inc.