The BloodCenter of Wisconsin is critically low on donations

Posted at 12:41 PM, Mar 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-20 13:43:52-04
The BloodCenter of Wisconsin is critically low on donations. 
"We're coming out with an emergency appeal," said Dr. Jerome Gottschall, Senior Medical Director at the BloodCenter of Wisconsin. 
He said that's not an appeal the BloodCenter makes lightly. 
The shortage was likely caused in part by last week's winter storm, which forced blood donors to cancel appointments. 
Gottschall added the flu season has deterred donors in recent weeks as well, by causing more people to fall ill. 
The BloodCenter of Wisconsin, a non-profit that supplies blood to more than 50 hospitals around the state, said it's now short on all blood types. 
Its stock of O negative blood has been at a less than one day supply for roughly a week. 
Gottschall said O negative blood is critically important to treating trauma patients because it can be accepted by all kinds of other blood types. 
"In trauma situations where a patient arrives in the ER and we don't know his or her blood type, those patients are immediately treated with O negative," he said. 
"If we had a large emergency, where someone needed large quantities of O negative, that would have a major impact," Gottschall said. 
Blood donations are also commonly used when treating cancer patients, and in organ transplants and cardiac surgery. 
Most other blood types at the BloodCenter of Wisconsin are currently at a less than two day supply, Gottschall said. 
The center typically likes to keep a three to five day supply on hand. Each day's worth of blood contains 100 units. 
Those interested in making an appointment to donate blood can call 1-877-BE-A-HERO. Anyone 17 or older who's in general good health and meets eligibility requirements can give. 
Donors should bring a photo ID that includes a birth date. The entire process takes roughly an hour from the time a donor arrives. 
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