Healthcare facilities dealing with blood shortage during COVID-19 outbreak
BATON ROUGE- With the COVID-19 pandemic at a high, hospitals are dealing with a blood shortage and urging people to donate.
While everyone is advised to stay home, doctors are asking people to leave for one reason, to donate blood.
"Most people don't realize that we have shortages of blood even during normal periods of activity now when you have a situation where people have to hunker down and stay inside it makes it even worse,” Baton Rouge General Dr. Antoine Keller said.
Doctors say they’ve taken a huge blow with the shortage of units right now and are down by the thousands.
"The amount of blood donated has been down about 3,500 units per week since the coronavirus epidemic started,” Dr. Antoine Keller said.
One unit is taken when people donate blood. That one unit can help up to 3 lives. With the 3,500 shortage that's equivalent to 10,000 lives.
"As you can imagine what kind of stress this puts on hospitals because they have to postpone patients' surgeries because they don't have the blood products that could potentially be necessary when these patients have to have their operation,” Dr. Keller said.
When donating blood health officials have put measures in place to ensure patients won't become infected.
"We have social distancing in place everywhere we are asking people to donate blood so you don't have to be in contact with anyone potentially with the coronavirus,” Dr. Keller said.
If you are sick, you won't be able to donate blood.
“Every person and every patient that goes to the blood bank will be screened for having a febrile illness and we don't encourage any person that is sick to donate blood because obviously, it is a problem,” Dr. Keller said.
As you are taking precautionary measures at home, health care officials remind that you can still help save a life.
"It's important that people practice social distancing, but it's also important that we have a steady supply of blood products so that people can continue to come to the hospital so we can take care of them,” Dr. Keller said.
You can donate blood Monday through Saturday at the LifeShare Blood Center on Essen Lane.
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