By Stetson Miller

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The American Red Cross says it is facing a national blood crisis. 

Between the COVID-19 pandemic, the holiday season and winter weather, the organization says it is dealing with the worst blood shortage it has seen in over a decade.

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The shortage has led doctors to make “tough choices about who receives transfusions and who has to wait,” the Red Cross tweeted Tuesday.

“The amount of blood we’ve been taking in due to donations is down,” American Red Cross spokesperson Tony Jones said previously.

Jones said the predicament could lead to delayed care for some patients who cannot afford to wait for treatment.

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“Folks who need transfusions for cancer patients, patients suffering from leukemia, sickle cell disease, they may not be able to get their treatments,” he said.

Doctors say the shortage could impact anyone. 

“Nobody wakes up in the morning and plans on being the next trauma patient so this literally could affect you or your family members,” said Dr. Jennifer Andrews of Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

But there are ways the public can step up to help offset this shortage. The easiest way is for eligible donors to roll up their sleeves and donate.

Besides that, the organization is encouraging people to host blood drives, recruit friends to make donations or volunteer at blood drives.

“We still need donors to come through and roll up a sleeve and give the gift of life,” said Ashley Henyan, Communications Director of the Red Cross’s National Capital & Greater Chesapeake Region. 

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To make an appointment to donate, just visit the American Red Cross website.

Stetson Miller