Blood shortage worsening in Illinois, donations needed urgently, Red Cross says

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Summer is traditionally a time with blood donations decline. But health experts say this summer is particularly challenging.

"We are continuing to see and hear that people need blood and the blood isn't there," said Celena Roldan, CEO of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago.

Blood donors - especially African American donors - are welcomed here and at other local blood drives as the organization reports the blood shortage is getting worse in Illinois and nationwide. Appointments are available at the American Red Cross office on West Harrison.

"We are looking to our African American donors also help us and roll up a sleeve to us providing blood to patients who are fighting sickle cell," Roldan said.

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Roseland Hospital sees many patients in need of blood treatments.

"We have a lot that are on dialysis, sickle cell patients, we have vulnerable population that requires blood transfusions on a regular basis, simply because of their underlying comorbidity," said Dr. Khurram Khan, chief medical officer at Roseland Hospital.

Khan said they are being more judicious with any blood products.

"If your hemoglobin is low, we give you a unit of blood and then we repeat the level, first to see that you need another unit and secondly that that transfusion we did give was effective," Khan said.

While some hospitals are not feeling the blood shortage, the American Red Cross is renewing its plea for donors. It reports traumas, transplants and ER visits are up as are elective surgeries with Americans returning to more normal activities.

To find a blood drive near you, go to RedCrossBlood.org.
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