Lifeline Blood Services announced today that blood donations are once again at a critically low level and that they may run out of blood this week for hospitals in West Tennessee.
“If we do not see an increase in donors this week, it is quite possible that we will run out of blood for West Tennessee’s hospitals,” said Caitlin Roach, Marketing Manager with Lifeline. “We realize that people have a lot on their minds, but we are begging those who can donate blood to make giving a priority.”
The low levels look the same across much of the country. Last week, the American Association of Blood Banks and America’s Blood Centers issued a joint statement on the problem:
“Blood centers across the country are currently reporting low blood supplies… Fall is typically a time when the blood supply is more stable – If the nation’s blood supply does not stabilize soon, hospitals may be forced to alter treatment for some patients or cancel some patient surgeries. Blood donations are needed now to help maintain optimal care for all patients.”
“We are also continuing to feel the continued impact of the current staffing shortage,” added Roach. “Pre-pandemic, we sent out three mobile units a day Monday-Friday. We are now down to two mobile drives a day—sometimes even one—due to our low number of staff.”
“We have no substitute for blood, and we cannot get blood from other blood banks because the entire country is facing a shortage,” said LIFELINE Blood Services Director of Community Services, Tonya Johnson. “We are urging anyone who can to please respond by giving blood as soon as possible.”
Lifeline Blood Services has two centers for easy donation opportunities. The Jackson Center is located at 183 Sterling Farms Drive and is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. The Dyersburg Center is located at 1130 Highway 51 Bypass and is open Saturday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday, Monday, & Tuesday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome. To speak with someone about donating blood, call 731.427.4431, ext. 0.
Lifeline offers several suggestions for individuals who choose to donate, whether they are first-time donors, have not given in years, or donated as recently as eight weeks ago.
1. Drink a lot of water before you come by.
2. Eat a meal 4-6 hours before you donate.
3. Plan to spend an hour of your time—probably less—with us.
4. To shorten your visit, fill out your medical questionnaire online (lifelinebloodserv.org) before you come.
5. No appointment is necessary for whole blood donation– just walk in at your convenience.
6. Know that there is no wait time (also called a deferral period) between receiving a COVID-19 shot or flu shot and donating blood.
7. Know that you can donate blood whether or not you’ve received a COVID-19 vaccine—this vaccine does not impact whole blood donations.
8. You can also give blood if you’ve had COVID-19 so long as you’ve been symptom-free for 14 days.
9. Bring a friend with you to donate as well—it makes the process more fun.
10. Remember that each donation saves up to three lives—what other reason could you need?
Today, Lifeline provides blood services to 20 West Tennessee counties and two regional areas, supplying 17 local hospitals and 14 air ambulances. Annually, the Center collects approximately 26,000 blood products (red cell units, platelets, plasma, etc.) to meet the needs of patients. Lifeline also provides reference lab and cross- matching services to healthcare facilities.