If you have ever donated to the American Red Cross, you’ve probably been receiving a rash of calls and emails asking for donations. I know I have. This is because we are currently facing a blood shortage, leading to a severe need for blood. This has impacted many people, and Kelli Hoff is one of them. She lives with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and requires blood transfusions every two weeks. Issues with access could have a large impact on her health.
About the Blood Shortage
The shortage of blood is happening for a number of reasons, according to the American Red Cross. Hospitals have been using more blood than in the recent past to treat the influx of emergency room visits, transplants, and traumas.
The pandemic did not help any of this, of course. Another contributing factor could be the people who postponed their surgeries and treatments who are now getting them done. People finally feel comfortable going into hospitals, which has led to an increase in the resources used.
Impact on Rare Disease Patients
Kelli Hoff, from Toledo, has MDS, which requires her to receive blood transfusions every two weeks. While she has been able to access the treatment she needs so far, she is concerned that this could change in the future. She said,
For me, on a regular basis, walking around is fine but I cant carry anything, I cant run, because you don’t get the oxygen in your blood and you cant do the things you used to do.
She stresses how many people require blood, not just trauma patients.
MDS are a group of conditions that stop the bone marrow from producing the correct amount of blood cells. Medical professionals aren’t exactly sure why this happens, but they suspect that a genetic predisposition plays a role, as do environmental triggers like chemotherapy or exposure to certain chemicals. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, heart palpitations, pale skin, easy bruising and bleeding, and being more prone to infection. MDS also often progresses into acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
The only answer to this blood shortage is donations. Nobody can manufacture blood; it only comes from people. The American Red Cross wants people to know that you can donate blood even if you’ve had COVID-19 or received the vaccination, as long as you’re feeling healthy on the day of donation.
You can find a blood drive close to you here.
Find the source article here.