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Emergency Blood Shortage

Versiti Issues Emergency Plea for Blood Donors, O Negative Supply Dangerously Low

Indianapolis – June 14, 2022

Versiti Blood Center of Indiana has issued an emergency appeal for blood donations, pleading with Hoosiers to donate. Versiti has seen a drastic drop in scheduled appointments and the blood center anticipates the available inventory of blood to be at less than a one-day supply within the coming days. Versiti strives for at least a three-day supply of blood, so it can be ready to serve all patients, even during unexpected events.

While all blood types are needed, Type O Negative blood, used to treat trauma patients in emergencies, is the most at risk. Only about 7% of donors have Type O Negative blood, making it extremely important for those individuals to donate.

Versiti is urgently seeking donors for more than 2,500 open appointments available at community blood drives and donation centers throughout the state.  

“As we head into the heart of summer, now is a crucial time for blood donation. With more people traveling and getting together, there is more opportunity for accidents and the subsequent need for blood,” said Dr. Dan Waxman, vice president of transfusion medicine and senior medical director at Versiti. “Type O blood donors are most needed, as the supply of O-negative blood is dangerously low.”

Platelet donors are also desperately needed. Platelets are a component of blood that promotes clotting and are a special type of blood donation. Platelet donations have a shelf life of less than one week, which means that donations will be used by a patient in a local hospital on average within five days.  

Platelets are incredibly important in a wide range of treatments for patients of all kinds, including premature babies, warriors fighting cancer, trauma victims, and those receiving organ or bone marrow transplants. Donors of all blood types are encouraged to donate platelets.

For those who do not know their specific blood type, the best way to find out is by signing up to donate blood. Donors can schedule an appointment to donate blood by calling 1-317-916-5150 or visit Versiti online at www.versiti.org/indiana.

How is blood used?

Trauma Patients

  • In the U.S., hemorrhage is the most common cause of death within the first hour of arrival to a trauma center.
  • More than 80 percent of deaths in the operating room and nearly 50 percent of deaths in the first 24 hours after injury are due to severe blood loss.
  • Three percent of civilian trauma patients will receive a massive transfusion and these patients consume 70 percent of all blood transfused at a trauma center.
  •  Gunshot victims are approximately five times more likely to require blood transfusions, they require 10 times more blood units and are 14 times more likely to die than people seriously injured by motor vehicles, non-gun assaults, falls, or stabs.

Individuals Going Through Cancer Treatments

  • More than a quarter of the U.S. blood supply is used by patients battling cancer.
  • More than 1.9 million people are diagnosed with a new cancer each year and many of them will need blood during their chemotherapy treatment.

Maternity and Pediatric Patients

  • Transfusions are needed in the U.S. in 1 out of every 83 deliveries.
  • Pediatric patients in the U.S. used 652,000 blood components.
  • The rate of transfusions needed in childbirth in the U.S. increased by 54 percent between
  • 2006 and 2015.

\Versiti has extended hours at its donor center locations through June 21, 2022, to provide more flexibility for donors. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome. 
Donor center locations:

  • INDIANAPOLIS: 3450 N. Meridian St.
  • FISHERS: 11005 Allisonville Road
  • CARMEL: 726 Adams St., Suite 150
  • GREENWOOD: 8739 U.S. 31 South
  • TERRE HAUTE: 2021 S. Third St.
  • LAFAYETTE: 2200 Elmwood Ave., Suite D-16

One donation of blood can save up to three lives, and 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. Donating blood takes about an hour. To learn more, visit Versiti.org.

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About Versiti Blood Center of Indiana

More than 90,000 Indiana residents each year give blood through Versiti Blood Center of Indiana, formerly Indiana Blood Center, a non-profit organization founded in 1952 that operates blood donation centers in Indianapolis, Fishers, Carmel, Greenwood, Lafayette and Terre Haute. The center also operates thousands of mobile and community blood drives each year throughout the state. Versiti provides a continuous and safe supply of blood and biological services to more than 90 Indiana hospitals and their patients and beyond.

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