Donors needed: Blood supply in New Orleans area is critically low

Blood drive stock photo courtesy Thinkstock

NEW ORLEANS — The organization that handles blood donations at 12 donor centers across Southeast Louisiana and Southern Mississippi is in desperate need of blood donors.

According to The Blood Center, levels are so low that there is only a 1.5-day supply of life-saving blood and blood components because of higher demand at area hospitals.

“Usage at area hospitals is surpassing blood collections due to low donor turnout,” says Vice President of Donor Resources and Public Relations for The Blood Center Cory Bergeron. “Ideally, The Blood Center maintains a three day inventory of blood. However, with the increased patient demand we’ve seen this summer we need to raise our inventory levels to sustain a four to five day supply to offset the increased usage in our community. All blood types are currently in demand. All those eligible to donate should give to stabilize the blood supply, thereby ensuring that we can meet any potential transfusion related demands.”

The Blood Center has 12 donor centers across Southeast Louisiana and Southern Mississippi. Donors can call (800) 86-BLOOD or visit the website  to find a donation location near them. Business and community organizations are encouraged to contact The Blood Center to discuss setting up a blood drive with their organization.

In order to maintain a healthy and stable community blood supply, The Blood Center must collect between 300 to 350 pints of blood every day. Donating blood is safe, simple and easy and just one pint can help to save up to three lives.

Up to 60 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood, but only 5 percent actually do. Donors must be in good health, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be at least 17 years of age to donate blood. Sixteen year olds are now eligible to donate; they must weigh at least 130 pounds and have a signed TBC parental consent form. The entire donation process takes less than an hour.

The Blood Center is a non-profit community service organization dedicated to providing blood and blood components to patients throughout Southern Louisiana and Southern Mississippi.