University of Utah Health and ARUP Blood Services are calling on Utahns to donate during a nationwide blood shortage that is also impacting blood banks and health systems in Utah.
A drop in blood donations has not recovered since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. ARUP saw an estimated 75 to 100 donors pre-COVID and now sees about 50 to 60 donors a day. "It has become increasingly difficult to find blood donors during this nationwide shortage," says Deborah Jordan, community relations supervisor for ARUP Blood Services. "We can't rely on those sources from surrounding states or neighboring organizations that have normally helped us out in the past."
According to ARUP, the number of patients transfused each month has increased nearly 15 percent compared to the previous year, whereas blood donations have decreased nearly 10 percent.
The need for blood continues to be especially high during the summer months as more people recreate outdoors and due to a higher number of trauma patients than in years past. "All it takes is for two badly injured trauma patients to put you in a blood shortage," says Ram Nirula, MD, chief of the Division of General Surgery at U of U Health. "In these summer months, our trauma volumes are always up, so the need for blood donations is high." In his 14-year medical career in Utah, Nirula says he has never seen a blood shortage like this in the state.
Patients of all blood types are asked to donate, but those with O negative and O positive blood types are in critical need.
ARUP is the sole blood provider for U of U Hospitals and Clinics, Huntsman Cancer Institute, and Shriners Hospital for Children. When volunteers donate through ARUP Blood Services, they are helping save the lives of patients in Utah. All blood and platelet donations through ARUP Blood Services stay in Utah.
To see if you are eligible to donate blood, go to https://www.utahblood.org/. Call 801-584-5272 to schedule an appointment.