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Versiti Blood Center issues emergency appeal for blood donations

Blood types O-negative, O-positive are most needed
Study looks into possibility of paying people to donate blood
Posted at 8:15 PM, Jun 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-14 23:25:54-04

MILWAUKEE -- Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin is calling for more blood donations as some communities in the state face critical shortages.

A Versiti spokesperson wrote in a statement Monday that all blood types are needed - but type O-negative and O-positive blood are most in demand.

The blood bank said the blood supply has already dropped to a "critically low level" with less than a day's supply of blood on shelves. They supply blood to more than 68 hospitals in Wisconsin. Versiti said they aim for a three-day supply of blood on shelves.

Dr. Jerry Gottschall, the senior medical director at Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin, believes due to this blood shortage, hospitals may not be able to handle a large trauma.

"Our inventory has been at levels that are just not where they need to be to take care of our patients," said Gottschall.

"We are urgently seeking help from our loyal donors and the public and asking that anyone able, to please donate blood today. Your donation is vital to ensure that Wisconsin hospitals have the blood they need for their patients," Dr. Dan Waxman, vice president of transfusion medicine and senior medical director at Versiti, said in the statement.

Versiti added they are down more than 40 percent in donations this year compared to a typical year. That's as the demand for blood has increased about 10 percent compared to historical averages.

O-negative blood is the universal blood type, so donations can be transfused to all patients, including trauma victims, cancer patients, and those undergoing surgery, Versiti says. They encourage anyone that would like to know what their blood type is to simply just donate, callback and ask.

Effective June 14 – 21, Versiti said it is expanding capacity and extending hours at its centers to help with donation collection.

They say due to the pandemic, many of their partners were unable to host mobile drives due to COVID-19 restrictions, a proponent in this shortage.

Dr. Gottschall assures that it is completely safe.

"We maintain social distancing, we clean all of our beds after each donation, we take the temperature of the donor. It’s extremely safe to come in and donate blood," said Gottschall.

They ask donors to visit the following Versiti blood centers:

· GREENFIELD: 7210 W. Edgerton Avenue
· KENOSHA: 8064 39th Avenue
· MARSHFIELD: 508 N. Central
· MANITOWOC: 619 Reed 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

To schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 1-866-642-5663 or visit Versiti online here.

Times, dates, and locations of upcoming blood drives can be found online by clicking the same link.

Donating blood takes about an hour with the actual donation taking 10-15 minutes, the blood bank says. Anyone age 17 or older in good health who meets eligibility requirements is asked to give. Donors should bring a photo ID that includes their birth date.

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