Severe blood shortage in Wisconsin, hospitals in need of donations

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- As the pandemic comes to a close, more Wisconsinites are seeking medical care, but some could soon run into roadblocks due to a critical shortage of blood. 

The American Red Cross is experiencing a crucial shortage as the number of trauma case and elective surgeries rise. It's creating what officials call a crisis in the nation's blood supply as pandemic restrictions ease and more patients return to hospitals after COVID-19 caused postponements. 

"For the first time in a couple of years, we're seeing a dip in appointments and donations, while we're also coming to a time when our hospitals need an incredible amount of blood," said Justin Kern, communications director for the American Red Cross of Wisconsin.  

The demand has climbed 10% this year for hospitals, said Kern. While donations soared in June, the concern now is more people are traveling this summer to make up for canceled trips due to the pandemic, and Kern said they have a lot of appointments to fill.  

"The real concern is that it doesn't get worse," said Kern. "We're asking people to make a donation in the next couple of weeks so we don't get to the point where hospitals have to choose." 

In other states, some hospitals have had to preserve their supply for the most at-risk patients. While it's not quite to that point in Wisconsin, Kern said violent crimes and car crash related injuries are also driving up the need for donations.  

To help fill the void, the American Red Cross is working to make it easy for people to donate by offering more blood drives this summer.  

"We are just reminding people the need is there and it will really help us avoid critical situations," Kern said.  

If you would like to donate, you can schedule an appointment at www.redcrossblood.org.  

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