Surgeons face difficulties amid blood donation shortage

JACKSON, Tenn. — Surgeons are having a difficult time performing surgeries due to the lack of an important resource that you can help provide.

LIFELINE Blood Services

Due to the pandemic, natural disasters, and inclement weather, blood banks across the US have been experiencing a shortage of donors.

This in turn has led to doctors and surgeons to postpone certain procedures and surgeries. One official at LIFELINE Blood Services discussed the matter.

“Across the nation we’re facing, and have been facing for several months, a critically low blood supply,” said Caitlin Roach, Marketing Director for LIFELINE Blood Services.

Roach says this isn’t just about Jackson, but all of West Tennessee is affected by this shortage.

“So to put that in perspective as well, not just are we low in our building, but we are at our hospitals, the 17 hospitals that we supply here in West Tennessee. They are at best at half. Most of them have less than half of what they would like on their shelf,” Roach said.

Roach said she worries that if a traumatic event occurs, she doesn’t know if they have enough blood to save those in need.

“When the shooting happened at Humboldt High School at the basketball game a few weeks ago, I truly was sitting at my house with tears in my eyes,” Roach said. “Because I didn’t know how many victims there were, how bad it was going to be, and thinking, ‘Are we going to be able to help whoever is bleeding out right now.'”

Officials at LIFELINE said as of 11 a.m. on Monday, they only have 27 units of blood available.

More than half of those units are type AB+ and AB-, which are only useful if the patient has that blood type.

“This is 100% affecting people here in West Tennessee, and you don’t know when it’s going to be you. Because I would say most people that need blood on a given day don’t wake up knowing they’re going to need that,” Roach said.

Dr. Dean Currie, the Chief Surgical Officer at West Tennessee Medical Group, says the low supply is a threat to the community.

“With regard to the supply of blood, it’s never as high, but typically we are able to get by,” he said. “But this is a dire shortage right now that threatens people’s lives.”

He says it costs nothing to be a hero and that anyone can do it.

“Almost everybody can give blood, and it’s particularly in a shortage like this, it’s necessary. It’s the right thing to do. It definitely helps, and it will save a life,” Currie said.

You can visit LIFELINE Blood Services at 183 Sterling Farm Drive in Jackson. Their office hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The Dyersburg location can be found at 1130 Highway 51 Bypass Suite 19 & 20, and is open Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday to Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

You can check their website for additional details.

And remember, LIFELINE’s Blood Mobile could be making a stop near you!

Check out their schedule for January of 2022 here.

You can find more local news through the WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News app.

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