LMH Health blood supplier announces 1st blood emergency of 2023, stresses need for more first-time and youth donors

photo by: LMH Health

LMH Health, 325 Maine St., is pictured in May 2021.

LMH Health’s blood supplier announced a blood emergency Monday, citing the cold and flu season, a high number of lapsed blood donors and a lag in first-time and youth donors as reasons for the current scarcity.

According to a news release from the Community Blood Center of Greater Kansas City, the center received 2,000 fewer blood donations in January compared with the same month last year — a contrast that’s especially stark given that the Community Blood Center declared a blood emergency on four occasions during 2022. Before Monday’s declaration, which is the first blood emergency the center has announced so far in 2023, the most recent one was announced in October of 2022.

The Community Blood Center provides the vast majority of the blood used by more than 60 area hospitals, including LMH Health. Monday’s release notes that blood donations are below hospital and patient needs and have yet to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels, further exacerbated by the decline in first-time and youth donors.

“Each winter, we struggle to get folks to donate blood, and this year is no exception,” Patsy Shipley, the Community Blood Center’s vice president of operations, said in the release. “We need more people to make blood donations, host blood drives and spread the word about the need for donations.”

As a representative with the Community Blood Center previously told the Journal-World, donors can give blood every 56 days, but there’s a particular need for platelet donations since they have a shelf life of just seven days. They’re more fragile, short-lived components of blood essential for normal blood clotting. The center relies on dedicated platelet donors to help patients undergoing chemotherapy, new mothers and folks with bleeding disorders, for example.

Platelets can be given even more frequently — twice per month — but can’t be donated at mobile drives since platelet donations can take roughly two hours. Instead, platelet donors will need to schedule an appointment at one of the Community Blood Center’s nearby neighborhood donation locations in Topeka or Olathe.

In Lawrence, there are also a number of upcoming opportunities to donate at mobile drives. A two-day mobile drive at the University of Kansas started Monday and will continue Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Kansas Memorial Union Ballroom. Later in March, the Lawrence Public Library is set to host a mobile drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, March 20. LMH Health will host mobile drives at both the LMH West campus, 6265 Rock Chalk Drive, on Thursday, March 23, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and at its main campus at 325 Maine St. on Friday, March 24, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Folks interested in donating can schedule an appointment and find a full list of other upcoming mobile drives on the Community Blood Center’s website, savealifenow.org/donate-blood.


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