Life-Saving Surgeries May Be Paused Due To Blood Shortage, Says UofL

By Anna Gallegos

June 22, 2021

Photo: Getty Images

Louisville doctors and health professionals are begging people to donate blood since the ongoing shortage may force hospitals to pause certain life-saving surgeries.

University of Louisville Health said it will have to start delaying transplant surgeries if it doesn't receive more blood within the coming weeks.

"If we don't have the necessary blood to do an organ transplant safely, we will either have to send the patient elsewhere, or we will not be able to accept the organs, and the organs will end up going elsewhere," Dr. Christopher Jones told WDRB. Jones is the director at the UofL Health Trager Transplant Center, where more than 3,000 people are waiting for an organ transplant.

Delaying liver, lung, or heart transplants can be deadly for patients.

"We were able to get organs quickly, now some of those organs go to other places and sicker patients...now we have to ask them to wait. Adding something like this on top of it is very difficult...very difficult," Jones said in an interview with WHAS11.

The blood shortage is because donations dipped during the pandemic. The shortage wasn't too bad during the height of the pandemic as more people stayed home so there was less car accidents, violent crimes, and elective surgeries requiring blood.

Now life is returning to normal so people are scheduling elective surgeries they previously delayed. A recent uptick in violent crime is also straining the current blood supply, WKYL reported.

Those interested in donating can go to the Red Cross website for more information.

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