The Red Cross partnered up with Montgomery County Police to host a blood drive on Wednesday in response to a nationwide shortage of blood supply.
The blood drive took place at the County police department in Gaithersburg.
According to spokesperson for the Red Cross, Patty Corvaia, the Red Cross started noticing the “trend” of the supply shortage in April and May.
“We noted that there was a concern in the spring. It’s a situation that continues to be seen, it kind of got to the point in the summer where it became a problem,” Corvaia said.
However, Corvaia also said it is normal to see a decrease in blood supply during the summer. She said this is due to people often leaving town for the summer. The result is a loss of two appointments every day.
Corvaia said another factor causing the shortage is schools being out. Twenty-five percent of the bloods supply the Red Cross collects comes from people between 18 and 25 years of age, often in high school or college.
During the summer, Corvaia said they cannot conduct any blood drives at high schools or college campuses.
Corvaia also mentioned this year hospital demand for blood donations is much higher than they had projected.
“We run across this problem every summer it’s just that this more significant than last summer,” Corvaia said.
“It’s a nationwide problem in the United States right now, we serve 2,600 hospitals throughout the country and we don’t have the five day supply that we drive to have to support the 2,600 hospitals we serve throughout the country.”
In the county, the Red Cross serves seven hospitals with blood supply. These hospitals are Suburban Hospital, Holy Cross in Silver Spring and Germantown, Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, Washington Adventist Hospital, the Kaiser Permanente Gaithersburg Medical Center and MedStar Montgomery Medical Center.
According to spokespeople from Kaiser Permanente Gaithersburg Medical Center, Washington Adventist Hospital, Suburban Hospital and Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, the shortage has not affected the blood supply or any of the scheduled surgeries at these hospitals.
Corvaia also said in order to keep the shelves stocked the Red Cross needs to collect 14,000 units of blood every day. The goal for this blood drive was at least 80 units of blood.
According to spokesperson for Montgomery County police Rick Goodale, the department expects to meet the goal.
“So far we’ve met the goal in our last few blood drives so we expect that to continue. There are certain blood types that a small population has that are in high demand and short supply,” Goodale said.
Goodale said as of Sunday 85 people have signed up to donate blood out of the 93 slots they have open.
Goodale also said depending on staff and timing, they are open to taking donations from any walk-ins.
“Typically what will happen, some people will cancel last minute and it really depends on how much staff the Red Cross brings with them and how efficient the process is with the appointments,” Goodale said.
Goodale mentioned they have always hosted blood drives with the Red Cross around this time of the year and will now host an additional blood drive in December to honor Noah Leotta.
“We’ve always been in partnership for the Red Cross for many many years. It’s just a natural partnership. We’ve always done a blood drive every year. This is our routine, normal blood drive that we’ve had every year,” said Goodale.
Corvaia said the Red Cross appreciates the efforts from the police department and the community to help increase the supply of blood.
“We work with a lot of law enforcement and EMS. They’re the first responders (and) they’re on the front line. As first responders, they see the need for blood. They stand by side by side with the Red Cross and they know how important it is to have blood readily available. We appreciate their support. It’s a community effort,” Corvaia said.