ROCHESTER, Minn. – Mayo Clinic’s Blood Donor Program is turning to the community for help. An increase in the need for blood products has taken a toll on inventory.
“We’ve been using about twice as much as we typically would do for several days so that’s why we’ve gotten into a little bit of trouble where we want to restore,” explains Justin Kreuter, MD, Director of the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Program.
Blood donations they receive stay local and are used to supply Mayo Clinic’s surgical patients as well as trauma patients. Dr. Kreuter says while they’re always keeping track of how much blood they’re collecting and supplying, situations like this can come up where there just happens to be an increased need. He explains they like to keep a two-week supply of each blood type on hand to accommodate for fluctuations. Currently, they’re inventory is down to just a one-week supply for certain blood types.
More demand, combined with lower donor turnout, which typically happens this time of year, is leading to a need for O Positive, O Negative, and AB Negative blood specifically.
Type O blood is known as the “universal donor,” meaning it’s the only blood type that is able to give red cells to all other blood types. It’s the most used and needed by hospitals, especially trauma patients who can be brought to Mayo Clinic from across the region.
“The blood that’s donated here really provides that security blanket should any one of us fall into some tragedy,” Dr. Kreuter adds. “The blood that’s been donated here within the last week or two, that’s the blood that is on our shelves ready and waiting for when trauma patients show up.”
It’s not just this program experiencing shortages. Regionally, American Red Cross chapters are facing a critical shortage of type O blood, with less than a two-day supply available for emergency rooms in some locations. To encourage donations, the Red Cross is offering $5 Amazon gift cards to anyone eligible to donate type O blood or platelets through June 10th.
If you’d like more information about becoming a blood donor or would like to make an appointment at the Blood Donor Center click here.