Versiti Blood Center says Wisconsin blood supply nearing critical shortage

NOW: Versiti Blood Center says Wisconsin blood supply nearing critical shortage

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- In light of a concerning decrease in blood donations, Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin has issued an emergency appeal for donations.

In a press release issued early Tuesday, June 6, Versiti noted a significant decrease in scheduled appointments, reporting approximately 2,500 openings for the following week starting on June 9.

"A quarter of our blood collections come from our school partners. During summer, these community drives halt, contributing to a potential crisis," explained Dr. Alcinda Flowers, associate medical director at Versiti. "We're also seeing fewer first-time donors, adding to this precarious situation."

As it currently stands, the organization has less than a one-day supply on the shelves, falling short of the ideal three-day supply, jeopardizing local hospital's capability to respond to emergencies effectively.

"We supply blood to almost all the hospitals in southeastern Wisconsin," Dr. Flowers explained. "When we don't have blood to give, hospitals don't have blood to give patients. If we don't have blood, people will lose their lives."

Blood donation is a lifesaving process, with Versiti saying that one donation can potentially save up to three lives. An appointment for blood donation, including registration and testing, usually takes about an hour. It's an hour donors like Samantha Bear are proud to give up.

"My best friend had her baby a couple years ago. She almost died. She got nine units of blood," Bear said. "I have something that somebody needs to save their life."

Bear says she wishes more people would have that mentality and take the time to donate.

"It seems like someone always has an excuse as to why they can't come and really, there shouldn't be one unless you physically aren't capable of doing it," Bear said. "There shouldn't be a need for a shortage if we have hundreds of millions of people who can donate blood and they aren't for whatever reason."

Those interested in donating blood can schedule an appointment by calling (877) BE-A-HERO or by visiting Walk-ins are also welcome at the following donor center locations:

  • Greenfield: 7210 W. Edgerton Avenue
  • Kenosha: 8064 39th Avenue
  • Milwaukee: 638 North 18th Street
  • Racine: 1120 S. Sunnyslope Drive
  • Waukesha: 2111 Springdale Road
  • West Bend: 130 Valley Avenue
  • Wauwatosa: 8733 Watertown Plank Road

Donors are encouraged to give, as long as they are 17 or older and in good health. Parental consent is required for 16-year-old donors. A photo ID with a birth date is necessary for all potential donors.

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