An unprecedented national blood crisis

Published 10:41 am Tuesday, February 1, 2022

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Because of the pandemic, we’ve been experiencing the worst blood shortage in more than ten years. The unprecedented blood supply crisis has forced several hospitals to defer major surgeries. 


Blood is a lifesaver. And it’s critical for major surgeries (including organ transplantation), chronic illnesses, cancer treatment, and traumas. Moreover, the need for blood is ongoing, yet only about 3% of eligible donors give blood yearly. 

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Did You Know?


  • It is estimated that someone across America needs blood every two seconds.
  • 29,000 units of red blood cells are needed each day.
  • 16 million blood components are transfused each year.
  • 13.6 million units of whole blood are collected each year.
  • The average red blood cell transfusion is about three units
  • A car accident patient can need as many as 100 units of blood.
  • The most sought-after blood type is “O.”
  • Patients of all blood types can receive type O negative. 
  • Only 7% of people in the U.S. are type O negative and are often in short supply.




“Whole blood” donations yield a variety of components, including red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma. Whole blood helps patients fight cancer, blood disorders, and traumatic injuries. While each element of the blood has its value, nearly every type of transfusion uses red blood cells, making that element of your blood very valuable. Apheresis, a harvesting process specific to collecting red blood cells, doubles the collection of those cells. This specialized donation is known as the “Power Red.” Those donors who qualify to make a Power Red donation can safely donate two units of red cells during a single appointment, doubling the impact of your gift.


The Power Red donation is exclusive to only those donors with O+, O-, A- and B- blood types. With the plasma, platelets, and some saline returned to your blood system; you are likely to feel more hydrated after the donation. However, a Power Red donation does take about thirty minutes longer.




The Blood Connection (TBC) is the sole supplier of blood products to St. Luke’s Hospital. Established more than fifty years ago, TBC is a not-for-profit community blood center. Unlike most blood collection organizations, the blood collected here stays here to support the needs of Polk County.


Your donations are critical to the welfare of our community. We recently chose to renew our association with TBC to provide this vital service because of its high standards in quality and service. We also wanted a partner who is locally focused. TBC played an essential role for our communities during the pandemic by collecting convalescent plasma donations. TBC currently offers COVID-19 antibody testing as a free service to all their donors.


I’m asking you to consider donating at our regular blood drives. To make a whole blood donation, you must be in good health, at least seventeen years old (sixteen years old with written parental consent) and weigh 110 pounds or more. Before your donation, drink plenty of water and eat a healthy meal. This preparation will ensure that the donation goes smoothly. 


The Blood Connection Bus has been on our campus and is parked behind the hospital on our MRI pad every two months. We promote the drives on our home page and through social media. A QR code present on the promotions will make scheduling an appointment very easy. Of course, we take walk-ins. 


Our tentative donation schedule for 2022:


9 am to 4 pm on:


Thursday, February 24th

Thursday, April 21st

Thursday, June 16th

Thursday, August 11th

Thursday, October 6th

Thursday, December 1st


Remember, blood donations with The Blood Connection go to your local friends, family, and neighbors. Together, we can continue to ensure the health and wellbeing of our community.


If you have a healthcare topic of interest or a question, send me a note at Also, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or visit to learn about top-rated St. Luke’s Hospital and our new world-class services.