In Chicago, across the nation - calls for donations ahead of potential plasma shortage

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Medical experts and patients are concerned that a nationwide shortage of plasma will keep some people in the Chicago area from receiving treatments they need to stay healthy.

The University of Chicago Medical Center has a blood bank, and medical experts said they typically see a decrease in blood and plasma donations around this time of year.

"Winter came early apparently, I've heard of a white Christmas but not a white Halloween," said Dr. Chancey Christenson, with the University of Chicago Medical Center. "We all got to have four inches of it on Halloween, that defers people from coming to donate."

Christenson said plasma, the colorless part of blood, holds healing for many people.

"It helps patients to stop bleeding, as well it helps with their immune system," Christenson explained. "It helps just with volume and livers as well."

The University of Chicago Medical Center hasn't seen a plasma shortage yet, but some patients in the Chicago-area said their healthcare providers have already started to prioritize plasma treatments.

Trisha Clark, 31, grew up in Illinois but lives in Wisconsin. The mother of two receives plasma infusions every three weeks for an autoimmune disease. She said she was told she'll have to wait for an infusion due to a plasma shortage.

"Partially they don't even know why it works but it is literally a lifesaving treatment for this condition," Clark said.

Clark is urging people to consider giving plasma, as she prepares for what could be a difficult holiday season.

For more information about donating blood at the University of Chicago Medical Center's visit www.uchicagomedicine.org.
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