Local hospitals in need of blood

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A call for help from the community. Our local hospitals need blood, and they need it now. The American Red Cross issued its first-ever blood crisis alert earlier this month, but supplies are still at dangerously low levels.

Doctors at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and Rochester Regional Health (RRH) have a strong warning for the community.

"We see our reserves shrinking slowly," said Dr. Roberto Vargas from RRH. "So it’s definitely trending in the wrong direction."

Right now, Red Cross officials say the country is experiencing the worst blood shortage in more than a decade.

Our local doctors want you to know they have enough blood right now to treat patients in our hospitals, but supplies are shrinking.

Every single week at Strong Memorial Hospital about 400 transfusions of blood are given to patients. Half of those are adults and children with cancer or problems with their bone marrow.

At RRH, surgeries are down by half of what they would normally be mostly due to a lack of bed capacity. However, doctors have also had to move some procedures because of special blood needs.

"We need, at this point, help. If there was a mass scale event or significant catastrophe we would not be able to respond unless we replenish those reserves," Vargas said.

So what can you do to help?

"How can we make a difference in the lives of people who are suffering?" asked URMC Chief of Hematology & Oncology Dr. Aram Hezel. "Giving blood can be one of the most important ways to help people with cancer."

Here’s where you come in! Find out if you’re eligible to give blood and make an appointment! You can do that by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), go online to RedCrossBlood.org or you can use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

That app is super easy. You download it to your phone and it shows you dates and times of blood drives near you. What’s cool about the app, it also tells you which hospital your blood will go to.

Here’s a little incentive. Those who give blood Feb. 1-28, 2022, will receive a $10 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, thanks to Amazon. (Terms apply. Visit rcblood.org/together.)