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Madison Memorial holding blood drive as country faces extreme shortage

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REXBURG — The American Red Cross is facing a national blood crisis and it’s the worst it’s been in more than a decade. Doctors are being forced to decide which patients receive blood transfusions and who has to wait.

RELATED: Blood donations are critically needed as Red Cross faces worst shortage in a decade

“It is to the point where hospitals are having to possibly reschedule surgeries or ration treatments,” said Angela Ragan, a spokeswoman with the American Red Cross in the east Idaho and Montana region.

According to a press release, the American Red Cross continues to confront relentless challenges due to COVID-19, including about a 10% overall decline in the number of people donating blood as well as ongoing blood drive cancelations and staffing limitations.

Ragan said she has seen it happen in the east Idaho region.

“Today (Thursday), I had a local high school that was going to have a blood drive. About a third of their donors scheduled and their blood program leader tested positive for COVID this week so we had to cancel their drive,” Ragan explained.

Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg stepped in and decided to hold a blood donation drive with the Red Cross on Thursday and Friday since the cancelation happened.

“They (doctors) are getting to a point where they have to make judgment calls with what they are going to do,” said Douglas McBride, executive director for business development at Madison Memorial Hospital. “It is so important to get out and be willing to donate blood.”

McBride told EastIdahoNews.com on Thursday that the biggest issues the hospital is dealing with are in trauma situations and having the necessary blood to help in immediate moments.

“The things that we have been dealing with is our allocations for getting blood supply, (it) is very limited so when we make orders for our blood, we can only get certain amounts,” he said.

According to a press release, in recent weeks, the American Red Cross had less than a one-day supply of critical blood types and has had to limit blood product distributions to hospitals. At times, as much as one-quarter of hospital blood needs are not being met.

Laurie Hardy, a Rexburg resident, came to Madison Memorial Hospital on Thursday to donate blood for the very first time.

“My husband works for Air Idaho Rescue and he’s been saying that they have been on a shortage of blood for flying and I decided I will just help out. That got me thinking that if it was ever me or my kids, or family members, that I would want there to be enough blood,” said Hardy.

Madison Memorial Hospital will be having a blood drive with the Red Cross on Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Ragan said the drive is almost full. People can schedule an appointment by calling 1-800-REDCROSS or by clicking here and typing in your zip code to find the nearest location to donate.

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center requires face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status.
 
A spokesman for the Red Cross said people who come and donate blood in January, will automatically be entered for a chance to win a getaway to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles and will also be automatically entered to win a home theater package and a $500 e-gift card.

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