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Lifeline issues ‘critical appeal’ for blood as Memorial Day weekend nears; Adamsville blood drive set for May 26

Lifeline Blood Services and West Tennessee Healthcare said Tuesday that west Tennessee’s blood supply is again at critically low levels.
“I realize that we have issued more critical appeals in the last 15 months than ever before, but we have no other choice — our blood supply really is that low,” said Caitlin Roach, marketing manager with Lifeline.
According to Lifeline, Jackson-Madison County General Hospital had half the preferred amount of O+ blood on its shelves Monday. Lifeline had no more to send and was only able to find six units to import from another blood center.
Lifeline describes the shortage as nationwide and said many donors have fallen out of the habit of giving over the course of the pandemic. Some are still leery about getting out to donate, while others are choosing not to give because masks are still required.
Scheduling mobile drives is also an issue. Some industries are not allowing mobile drives at their sites, and others are having to turn Lifeline away because they do not have enough staff members to allow those who are working to donate on company time.
Lifeline said it is also being impacted by a staffing shortage, and does not have enough staff to ensure that all mobile drives happen once scheduled.
“It seems like everywhere we turn, we hit another roadblock in reaching our donors,” said Roach.
Lifeline reports that usage of blood across West Tennessee is up, yet it is down by about 750 units for the year. Local hospitals have used 721 more units than this time last year, using 308 more units this April than in April 2020..
“Our hospital volumes have been incredibly high this year, and not just related to COVID-19 patients. Our patients rely on your donations for their care, and we need those donations more than ever. We cannot manufacture blood products, so please consider donating today,” said Deann Thelen, CEO of Jackson-Madison County General Hospital. “This is a critical shortage, and we need everyone to donate in order to save lives. You never know when you will be the one on the receiving end in the hospital needing blood.”
Lifeline is holding a community mobile blood drive on Wednesday, May 26 at Adamsville Healthcare & Rehab at 409 Park Avenue in Adamsville from noon to 4 p.m.
“Going into a holiday weekend with blood supply levels this low terrifies me,” said Roach. “If you are capable of donating, please do so in the next couple of days. The lives of west Tennesseans are absolutely depending on you.”
Lifeline Blood Services, at 183 Sterling Farms Drive in Jackson, is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome. To make an appointment, text the word “schedule” to 999-777 or, to speak with someone about donating blood, call 731-427-4431, ext. 0.

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