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American Red Cross Reports Blood Donation Shortage

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — An urgent plea from the American Red Cross. The agency says blood supply at area hospitals is at a critical level, and the number of donors is down, too.

Gigi Barnett explains how the shortage is impacting hospitals.

Empty beds and low blood supply. It’s what American Red Cross nurses fear, and this month it’s reality.

“This is the dramatic decline the Red Cross has seen in over a decade,” said Michael Baisey, American Red Cross spokesman.

Across the eastern region, more than 14,000 donors have called to cancel their appointments. In Maryland and D.C., that number is at 1,500.

The Red Cross blames this: The winter weather blasting across the eastern seaboard causes delays and shutdowns at schools, churches and hospitals where many blood drives occur.

“When they’re closed or delayed that limits our operating schedules,” Baisey said.

When the Red Cross is low, hospitals are, too.

At St. Joseph Medical Center, they’re down on all blood types that are used for cancer and surgery patients.

Dr. David Brinker manages the St. Joseph Medical Center blood bank. He says panic hasn’t set in yet. But if the donations continue to drop, some surgeries may be on hold.

“I won’t start panicking,” Brinker said. “Maryland, take care of Maryland.”

Click here for more information about the WJZ Blood Drive being held Saturday.

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