Jun 4, 2024 - Health

South Louisiana faces critical shortage of blood donations

Illustration of a bandaid with a heart in the center.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

South Louisiana's summer blood shortage is hitting earlier than usual,

Why it matters: South Louisiana has a critical shortage of type O blood and type A platelets, and leaders are asking for donations to keep New Orleans metro hospitals stocked.

  • July and August are usually the toughest months for blood donations, said Paul Adams, the public relations manager at The Blood Center, and "we're feeling it much earlier."
  • It's concerning, he said, especially given the extreme hurricane season forecast this year.
  • "It's going to be a long summer," he told Axios New Orleans.

Zoom in: About 30% of The Blood Center's donations come from high school and college students, Adams said.

  • But the shortage goes beyond that drop, Adams said.

Zoom out: The Blood Center supplies blood and blood components to 60 hospitals and clinics in southeast Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, including University Medical Center.

  • Ochsner Health has its own blood bank and also is facing a critical shortage, officials say.
  • The blood cells are used for trauma and emergency situations, like car wrecks and childbirth, Adams said. The platelets are typically used for leukemia and cancer treatments.

How it works: Plan for about an hour to donate blood.

  • The actual blood withdrawal is only 10 to 15 minutes, Adams said. The rest is registration, checking iron and eating cookies while you recover.

What's next: Ochsner and The Blood Center are hosting blood drives all summer. See the donor requirements.

  • The Blood Center is also looking for groups to host a blood drive.

Go deeper:

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the name of The Blood Center (not The Blood Bank).

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