Heartland Hospitals Feel Pressure of Low Blood Supplies

The American Red Cross has put out a national appeal for blood. Certain blood types are very low, and Heartland Hospitals are the ones who feel the pressure.
Julie Wengert, blood bank supervisor at Southeast Hospital says, "Red Cross for the past three weeks, only had a half day supply of O-negative and we have felt that."
People sitting down for a few minutes to donate, is the image all of us have of giving blood. But lab workers at Southeast Hospital's blood bank have a different image. They're the ones who get the blood from the Red Cross after it's donated and tested. They're also the people who feel the pressure when donations are down. "If we have a surgical patient who requires a lot of blood or a trauma it can be 50 to 60 units a day," Wengert says.
Open heart surgeries, cancer patients, and trauma accidents that come into the ER require the most donations. But getting the blood to patients isn't a simple process. Wengert says even if they know a patients blood type, they still have to type their blood to see if there's a reaction. But in trauma situations they can't wait that long, so O-negative is automatically sent to the patient. That's why O-negative is always in demand, because it can be given to anyone, but lately supplies have been low. "For at least two weeks we were down to three to four units of O-negative a day," Wengert says. "When we would call the Red Cross there was nothing to re-stock it with."