Blood supply remains critically low

Local

NEW ORLEANS — Blood centers are running on empty which means lifesaving treatments could be in jeopardy.

Some elective surgeries are on hold to make sure blood is available for those who need it most.

Health leaders want sleeves up not just for vaccines, but for blood donations. The Blood Center needs a lifeline to restock the shelves.

“An hour of your time donating blood could mean the lifetime of the patient who receives it,” said Dr. Tim Peterson, Medical Director of The Blood Center.

The shortage is partially driven by usage going up as people are getting elective surgeries they might have put off because of the pandemic.

“As folks are returning to their normal lives, with that comes the normal emergencies that require blood on a daily basis,” said Dr. Jennifer Avegno, director of the New Orleans Department of Health. “It’s the severe car accidents, surgeries, various bleeding conditions, various cancers where patients present to emergency departments, critically ill where blood being the treatment they need in order to sustain life.”

The Blood Center needs to collect 300 to 350 units of blood daily to serve more than 60 hospitals in southern Louisiana and Mississippi.

This week in Jefferson Parish, community blood drives are aiming to make a difference.

Monday night, a drive was held at Pontiff Park in Metairie.

“It’s really important to help our community, especially since it’s already been a trying time,” said Sarah Babcock as she was donating blood. “This was definitely a quick and easy experience. We’ve been here less than an hour.”

Once blood mobiles are allowed to return to school campuses and work sites, donations are expected to go up.

In the meantime, leaders are relying on people to visit community sites or the blood bank to donate.

“If you know that you are a healthy person, come out and give some blood. Please roll up your sleeves because it will be greatly appreciated and it will always come back to you,” said Dr. Corey Hebert, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine.

People are encouraged to donate whether they’ve had the COVID vaccine or not.

If you’ve had COVID, wait 14 days after you’re symptom free before giving blood.

Jefferson Parish, in partnership with The Blood Center, will be hosting blood drives at specific playgrounds on the East Bank and West Bank due to blood shortages both locally and nationwide. One lucky donor will be entered to win a $500 gas card from The Blood Center. In order to enter to win, the donor must take a selfie while donating and send the photo to www.tinyurl.com/SummerofGas.

Appointments are encouraged but not required. Eligible donors can make an appointment at the following locations in Jefferson Parish by clicking the links below or by calling (800) 86-BLOOD:

Pontiff Playground:
Monday, May 24 from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
1521 Palm St., Metairie, LA 70001
**Schedule an appointment

Lakeshore Playground:
Tuesday, May 25 from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
1125 Rosa Avenue, Metairie, LA 70005
**Schedule an appointment

King’s Grant Playground:
Wednesday, May 26 from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
3805 15th St., Harvey, LA 70058
**Schedule an appointment

Miley Playground:
Thursday, May 27 from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
6716 W. Metairie Ave. Metairie, LA 70003
**Schedule an appointment

Johnny Jacobs Playground:
Friday, May 28 from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
5851 5th Ave., Marrero, LA 70072
**Schedule an appointment

Pontiff Playground:
Saturday, May 29 from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
1521 Palm St., Metairie, LA 70001
**Schedule an appointment

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