LMH Health’s blood supplier announces blood emergency due to extreme winter weather, spike in seasonal illness

photo by: LMH Health

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

LMH Health’s blood supplier has announced a blood emergency, citing recent winter weather extremes and a spike in seasonal illnesses.

The Community Blood Center announced the blood emergency in a news release Tuesday. The Community Blood Center of Greater Kansas City provides the vast majority of blood used by more than 60 area hospitals, including LMH Health.

According to the release, there was low donor turnout during the holiday season, and the recent inclement weather has resulted in the widespread cancellation of donation appointments and blood drives. The spike in seasonal illnesses across the region has prevented many from donating. All told, that’s resulted in a nearly 40% drop in donations to the Community Blood Center in the last three weeks, leaving it with only a one-day supply of types O-, O+ and B- and a “critical shortage” of platelets.

The previous year was a rough one for blood donations overall. According to the release, blood collections in the region during 2023 were the lowest they’ve been in six years, down by nearly 18,000 donations since 2021. Blood emergencies have been declared across the country as well, indicating there’s no national surplus of blood at this time.

“In the midst of the nationwide blood emergency, and in the wake of recent winter storms, we are calling on all who are eligible to make an immediate blood or platelet donation,” Chelsey Smith, director of public relations for the Community Blood Center, said in the release. “After a year of record-low donations across our region, the current blood supply is dangerously low, and donors are needed to ensure patients in our community get the lifesaving treatment they need.”

Blood donors can give every 56 days, up to six times a year. In Lawrence, the next Community Blood Center drives are scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 23, and Wednesday, Jan. 24, at the University of Kansas’ Burge Union, 1565 Irving Hill Road. To schedule an appointment or view other blood drives scheduled to take place in the area, visit donate.savealifenow.org.


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