National Blood Shortage Hits ND Centers

Mike Moen

Mike Moen

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - A perfect storm is putting a strain on blood-bank supplies in North Dakota and around the country. It's a combination of trauma cases, patients resuming elective surgeries - and prospective donors returning to pre-pandemic life.

The American Red Cross issued an appeal this week that blood donations are urgently needed.

It says demand from hospitals with trauma centers has jumped by 10% this year. Another factor is people who put off procedures at the height of the pandemic.

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And Monica Janssen, donor relations coordinator at the Dak Minn Blood Bank in Grand Forks, said with many COVID restrictions lifted, they're in the same boat.

"Now that the summer months have hit," said Janssen, "we have now been in with the national blood shortage and have seen a big nosedive in donors."

She said they're doing about one blood drive a week, and only getting between five and 20 donors at those events. Vitalant blood centers across North Dakota also are urging people to consider a donation.

Dak Minn's blood donations go directly to hospital patients, and Janssen said they can't do what they normally do when local supplies are running low - which is ask other centers for help.

"Now with the national shortage, it's really hard to get blood from other places as well," said Janssen.

The American Red Cross says there's been less than a half-day's supply of 'Type O' blood in recent weeks. It is making a special appeal to people with 'Type O' blood to donate if they can, since that is the blood type most needed by hospitals.

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at kboyer@gannett.com, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

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