A critical shortage of blood supplies and blood donors continues to put hospitals around the western Pennsylvania area in difficult positions.
“The number of volunteer blood donors in our community has dropped 50 percent- per year- over the last 10 years,” Charlie Wilcox, president of the Northeast Region for blood service provider Vitalant, said in an interview with Butler Radio. “The donor base is no longer large enough to support our patients’ needs. We’ve been in a constant state of shortage for months.”
Vitalant is a network of blood centers across the country- including the organization formerly known as Central Blood Bank. They provide blood products to 50 local medical facilities, including Butler Memorial Hospital.
Wilcox says roughly 600 units of blood are transfused every day in the greater Pittsburgh area and Vitalant currently has less than a day’s supply in reserve.
“Modern science has done many miraculous things over the years, but one thing it hasn’t been able to do is replicate human blood,” he said. “If you need blood, it has to come from a donor.”
Vitalant has a regular local donation center at the Butler Health System’s facility on Oneida Valley Road, as well as a blood drive coming up on Sept. 5 at Butler Memorial Hospital.
Those interested in helping out in this shortage are asked to visit Vitalant’s website at Vitalant.org.