Red Cross: Emergency blood shortage may delay medical procedures

Donors urged to give now as nation faces lowest number of blood donors in decades
Mon, 01/08/2024 - 9:45am

    Donors have the chance to help save lives, win trip to Super Bowl LVIII!

    The American Red Cross is experiencing an emergency blood shortage as the nation faces the lowest number of people giving blood in 20 years. The Red Cross blood supply has fallen to critically low levels across the country, and blood and platelet donors are urged to make a donation appointment to help alleviate the shortage and help ensure lifesaving medical procedures are not put on hold.

    Over the last 20 years, the number of people donating blood to the Red Cross has fallen by about 40%. When fewer people donate blood, even small disruptions to blood donations – such as the nearly 7,000-unit shortfall in blood donations the Red Cross experienced between Christmas and New Year’s Day alone – can have a huge impact on the availability of blood products and dramatic consequences for those in need of emergency blood transfusion. Blood products are currently going to hospitals faster than blood donations are coming in, and in recent weeks, the Red Cross has had to limit distributions of type O blood products – among the most transfused blood types – to hospitals.

    “Small changes in blood donor turnout can have a huge impact on the availability of blood products and dramatic consequences for those in need of an emergency blood transfusion,” said Dr. Eric Gehrie, executive physician director for the Red Cross. “More challenges may lie ahead as the potential for severe winter weather and seasonal illness may compound the dire blood supply situation. Donors of all types – especially those with type O blood and those giving platelets – are urged to give now.”

    Don’t wait – to make an appointment, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

    The Red Cross and the National Football League (NFL) are partnering this January, during National Blood Donor Month, to urge individuals to give blood or platelets and help tackle the emergency blood shortage. Those who come to give blood, platelets or plasma in January will automatically be entered for a chance to win a trip for two to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. For details, visit Bowl.

    Upcoming blood donation opportunities Jan. 8-31:

    Cumberland:  Brunswick - 1/19/2024: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., American Legion Post 20, 1 Columbus Drive;  1/24/2024: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m., Elks Lodge, 179 Park Row; 1/30/2024: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m., Brunswick Hotel and Tavern, 4 Noble St. Knox:  Rockland - 1/12/2024: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Rockland American Legion, 335 Limerock St.. and on 1/25/2024: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.; Rockport -  1/9/2024: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., YMCA, 116 Union  1/23/2024: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., YMCA, 116 Union St.; 

    Lincoln -  Damariscotta:  1/25/2024: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., Central Lincoln County YMCA, 525 Main St.;  Waldoboro -  1/19/2024: 12 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., Safe Harbor Community Chapel, 50 Mill St.;  Wiscasset - 1/12/2024: 10:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Wiscasset Community Center, 242 Gardiner Road/Route 27; Sagadahoc -  Bath: 1/10/2024: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m., West Bath Fire Dept, 192 State Road, 1/29/2024: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m., YMCA, 303 Centre St.;  Topsham - 1/11/2024: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m., ARC Mid Coast Chapter, 16 Community Way and o=n 1/16/2024: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m., ARC Mid Coast Chapter.

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit or, or follow us on social media.