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Red Cross ‘first-ever blood crisis’ impacts felt in Arizona

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 5:11 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The American Red Cross declared its first ever blood-crisis as it has reached “dangerously low” blood levels.

“All it takes is one big surgery that has a huge need and you can get into a bind quickly when there’s a shortage on blood supply,” said Director of Laboratory Services at Tucson Medical Center Sanjay Timbadia.

He said the hospital’s current inventory of blood is half of the usual supply and some doctors are rearranging surgery schedules to make do.

“I’ve been with Tucson Medical Center for 10 years and this is the first we’re experiencing this in my time here,” he said.

The short supply at TMC is for all blood types and it’s not just hospitals feeling the pinch.

“People need to be aware there are a lot of different uses for blood. For both patients on cancer therapy, people that have blood disorders, of course people that have trauma from traumatic accidents,” said oncologist Dr. Christopher DiSimone.

He said the blood-crisis can have a direct impact on his cancer patients.

“Occasionally patient’s therapies have to be delayed until they can get transfusions,” he said. “It also means that you may have to make hard decisions of who can get transfusions and who doesn’t.”

To reduce the shortage in southern Arizona and nationally, the Red Cross is urging the public to roll up a sleeve and save a life.

“Whatever you can do now is the time to do it. If you’re healthy and can donate, I encourage everyone to do so,” Timbadia said.

Find out how you can make a difference and donate blood to the Red Cross, here.

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