Area hospitals not experiencing nationwide trend of blood shortage

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Every day your bloodstream flows and works to keep you alive.

While doctors and researchers have made centuries worth of advancements, they haven’t figured out a way to substitute or manufacture blood, which means modern medicine still depends on human nature to nurture.

“When I see a nationwide trend towards a lack of donors, it makes me very concerned because what hits one area tends to hit all areas,” said Dr. Tyler Septsis, of Eskenzai Health.

Currently, Central Indiana’s main hospitals aren’t feeling the impacts of the national and regional trend.

Eskenzai Health tells FOX59 it doesn’t have a blood shortage or low supply; IU Health and Riley Hospital confirm the same.

Eskenzai’s main supplier, the Indiana Blood Center, now known as Versiti Blood Center of Indiana, hope for at least a 4 day supply.

Indiana Blood Supply urges for blood donation on World Blood Donor Day. (PHOTO: Indiana Blood Center)

Its lowest supply on Wednesday and Thursday– O, the universal blood type– was at about 45 percent. The other remaining blood types were above 65 percent— with three of them at 100 percent.

But Dr. Septsis, Eskenzai’s emergency room medical director, says we can’t just bank on what we have now.

“We have to see 550 people every single day just to maintain a minimum supply to the hospitals that we serve in our community so blood donation is all that we do,” explained Courtney Howay with the Indiana Blood Center. “It’s all that we know.”

Howay adds that the Summer months prove the most difficult, “schools are out of session. We lose 30 percent of the supply, which puts us in a position where it’s at a high need time and a low donation time.”

But despite this, area hospitals have not reported any shortages; however, physicians like Dr. Septsis, say Hoosiers can’t just bank on what we have now.

“We don’t know until we test (a patient what their need is), and unfortunately, when we test is when we decide, ‘Hey, we need this blood,'” the E.R. doctor said.

He says high demand for blood can happen fast, “which means somebody may not get as much blood upfront as they might need just because we really need to be careful with it.”

To avoid that, physicians and blood banks encourage Hoosiers to keep doing what they’re already doing: beat the trend by donating blood to save lives.

If you’re interested in becoming a donor, sign up here.

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