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Red Cross warns of ‘crisis,’ pleads for blood donors


Blood donations are in such short supply nationally that doctors have been forced to ration the precious liquid, the Red Cross said Tuesday in a plea for more donors to come forward.

“We are putting out a call to action,” Angel Montes, a Red Cross executive representing the Cascade region, said in a news conference announcing the shortage. “Help us pass this very difficult time.”

The shortage nationally is the worst it’s been in at least 10 years, Montes said, with doctors in recent weeks having to deny blood to patients who need it. On some days, the Red Cross has had only a one-day supply of particularly rare blood types.

Underscoring the gravity of the situation, Oregon Health & Science University’s bone marrow transplant director joined the call to ask people to come forward and donate blood.

“The situation is now at a crisis level,” Dr. Rachel Cook said.

Cook implored people to step up.

“I’m always struck by how many people just haven’t thought of doing it,” Cook said.

During the pandemic, the number of people giving blood dropped 10% nationally, and school and college blood drives dropped 62%, Montes said. As much as a quarter of hospital needs nationwide aren’t being met, the Red Cross said.

As an incentive to donate, the Red Cross will offer anyone who donates in January a chance to win a Super Bowl “getaway” or a home theater package and a $500 gift card. People can sign up to donate blood by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-733-2767.

— Fedor Zarkhin




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