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Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

University of Michigan Hospital has one-day blood supply due to coronavirus

blood donation

Blood donors desperately needed 

Michigan residents can find a local site to donate blood to the American Red Cross here.

Blood supplies are critically low at Michigan hospitals, the victim of canceled blood drives in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the most striking example, the University of Michigan hospitals in Ann Arbor is down to a one-day supply of blood, according to the hospital’s chief of transfusion medicine. U-M put out an urgent call for blood donors Thursday on social media.

“Today we’re doing OK — we didn’t have to do any kind of triage or rationing,” Dr. Robertson Davenport, head of transfusion medicine at U-M, told Bridge Magazine on Thursday. “However we were notified by the American Red Cross of a severe shortfall in donations and they say they will only be able provide half our usual supply next week.

“I’m very worried about what we are going to be facing over the next few weeks.”

Concerns over the spread of coronavirus have canceled blood drives and regular blood donations nationally in recent weeks. In Michigan alone, about  160 blood drives have been canceled.

Davenport said he’s communicated with other Michigan hospitals and they too are facing critical shortages.

U-M Hospital has canceled elective surgeries, but “for people who need blood, there isn’t much else you can do,” Davenport said. “The critical patients, with leukemia, or who are actively bleeding, patients who have to have critical surgeries, things that cannot wait, there really isn’t much you can do” if the hospital doesn’t have enough blood.

“We need donors of all blood types,” Davenport said. “Red blood cells, platelets, plasma. This is a nationwide shortage, and from what I’ve seen, we’re not going to recover” soon. 

Michigan residents can find a local site to donate blood to the American Red Cross here.

Todd Kulman, a spokesman for the American Red Cross, told Michigan Radio that as of Monday, canceled blood drives in Michigan had resulted in “about 5,100 fewer blood donations here for the hospitals and patients we serve in the state of Michigan.”

The Red Cross is urging healthy adults across the U.S. to give blood to help a range of hospital patients and others who desperately need it.

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