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Blood shortage could put transplants on hold, UofL Health says

If they do not receive more blood in the coming weeks, UofL said it will have to delay surgeries.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — UofL Health could be forced to put transplants on hold if the ongoing blood shortage continues.

While localized blood shortages are not uncommon, officials with the American Association of Blood Banks said this shortage is "unprecedented in its scope."

Kentucky, like much of the country, is facing a critical shortage of blood. UofL Hospital is the region's only Level One Trauma Center, which treats car crash and gunshot wound patients who often require many units of blood. A single car crash victim can require as many as 100 units.

If they do not receive more blood in the coming weeks, UofL said it will have to delay surgeries.

"We have a waiting room full of folks today, and one of the things we started telling people, you might have to bank some blood for yourself — especially for our kidneys who are undergoing living donation — just so we can make sure we have blood for them," Dr. Christopher Jones said.

Jones said putting those surgeries on hold could be life-threatening, especially for lung, liver and heart transplant patients who have already spent so much time waiting for the right circumstances for a transplant.

"We were able to get organs quickly, now some of those organs go to other places and sicker patients...now we have to ask them to wait," Jones said. "Adding something like this on top of it is very difficult...very difficult."

According to UofL Health, someone in the United States needs blood or platelets every two seconds, and only about a third of Americans are eligible to donate blood.

People can schedule blood donations at multiple donation centers across Kentuckiana. To find one nearby, click here.

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