Local blood supply critically low - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local blood supply critically low

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- So far this year there have been 13 shootings in Chattanooga forcing hospitals do more blood transfusions than normal. We learn the blood supply is down to a critically low level.

Blood Assurance says January was its lowest month in the books for donations, but at the same time, the highest for the amount needed. Now they're doing everything they can to get the supply to meet the demand.

Shootings, stabbings and severe car crashes have kept local hospitals busy trying to save lives so far this year. A big part of doing that is having blood readily available. But, Blood Assurance hasn't been quite as busy. January reached a record low.

"It was the lowest blood that we've ever received, but the most that was going out," Blood Assurance VP of Marketing Linda Hisey said.

On any given day, they need 400 units of blood donated, but they've been down to about 250 units. That's not nearly enough.

"That's a big disparage of what we need to have," Hisey said.

That blood goes to serve both their regular patients and those rushed in to the ER. It takes two days on average for that blood to be tested and delivered to the hospital.

"When someone has been the victim of a crime or an incident like that, yes we need to have additional blood, but we need to remember when those things happen, we need to have the blood on the shelf already," Hisey said.

It's time for a plan to get that life saving blood flowing again. Starting Saturday, they're extending Saturday hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They're also calling in their faithful donors like Connie Robinson.

"They just called this morning and said they really need my blood today," donor Connie Robinson said.

Harry Geller has been donating for 40 years and giving 48 gallons of his own blood.

"It really will give you a sense of doing something important," donor/volunteer Harry Geller said.

He's sending out hand written notes to get more people in to replenish the supply.

"It's a great way to feel useful," Geller said.

Blood Assurance serves more than 50 health facilities in the Tennessee Valley and pleads the community answers their call.

Blood Assurance plans to extend its hours to 5 p.m. every Saturday from now until the supply is back up where it's needed. This Saturday was its first day doing so, only picking up about a dozen donations.

Blood type O Negative is the biggest request because it's compatible with all types.

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