Versiti Blood Center in need of donations 

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By Haley Miller

Amid a nationwide blood shortage, Versiti Blood Center of Indiana issued an emergency appeal earlier this month for blood donations.

Versiti’s Area Vice President Penny Schroeder said collections fell 20 percent last month, and the center urgently needs O negative and O positive blood types.

“We want to make sure we mitigate any impact to our hospitals and our patients in Indiana,” Schroeder said. “Blood is something that can’t be made in a laboratory. The only way we can get this precious resource is from donors.”

Trickle-down effects of the pandemic are largely responsible for the low blood inventory. Several hospitals began offering elective surgeries again at the start of 2022, driving up the need for blood on the shelf. Blood-drive sites that would have drawn many donors prior to the pandemic have yielded fewer donors in 2022.

Schroeder said office blood drives, for example, now only attract a third or half of would-be donors because of hybrid work schedules.

“It’s been a unique challenge throughout the pandemic,” Schroeder said.

Summertime also exacerbates the situation because Versiti cannot hold high-volume blood drives at high schools and universities during summer break. Schroeder said high school and college students make up 30 percent of Indiana’s blood supply.

“As we head into the heart of summer, now is a crucial time for blood donation,” senior medical director Dr. Dan Waxman stated in a recent Versiti press release. “With more people traveling and getting together, there is more opportunity for accidents and the subsequent need for blood.”

Besides Type O donors, Versiti also needs platelet donors. Platelets are a special kind of blood cell that helps with clotting. A low platelet count, common among cancer patients, premature babies and trauma victims, may lead to excessive bruising and bleeding.

Central Indiana residents can donate at one of Versiti’s six local collection centers: Carmel, Fishers, Greenwood, Terra Haute, Lafayette and downtown Indianapolis. Versiti supplies blood services to more than 60 Indiana hospitals.

Potential donors can schedule an appointment online at donate.indiana.versiti.org.

Schroeder said the team at Versiti appreciates Hoosiers who help support the blood supply and needs more individuals to add regular blood donations every eight weeks to their to-do list.

“Chances are, you or someone you know in your lifetime is going to need blood,” Schroeder said. “It is the blood on the shelf today that literally will save someone’s life tomorrow.”

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