Wisconsin blood center calls on donors as supplies drop during winter storms

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin is calling on donors to help as supplies drop amid winter storms.

“The unrelenting winter weather is taking its toll on the blood supply across the Midwest,” said Dr. Dan Waxman, vice president of transfusion medicine and senior medical director at Versiti. “Supplies of some blood types, including O-negative and O-positive, are reaching critically low levels, with less than a day’s supply of life-saving blood on shelves to supply Versiti’s hospital partners across Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. We simply do not have the three-day supply of blood that we need.”

In the past year, Versiti has experienced a 47% decrease in mobile drive collections, according to a press release.

The blood center says platelets used to help cancer patients, trauma survivors and premature babies, are only viable for five to seven days outside the body, creating an ongoing need for donations. 

“We are asking the community to step forward and help,” said Dr. Waxman. “Unfortunately, we can’t wait a week until a cold snap subsides to provide these life-saving gifts. For these patients who rely on us, they need our help today, regardless of the weather forecast."

O-negative and O-positive blood donors are most needed currently.

Wisconsin residents are encouraged to donate at one of the following Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin centers:

  • MILWAUKEE: 638 N. 18th St.
  • KENOSHA: 8064 39th Ave.
  • WAUWATOSA: 8733 Watertown Plank Rd.
  • GREENFIELD: 7210 W. Edgerton Ave.
  • LA CROSSE: 1800 Jackson St.
  • MANITOWOC: 619 Reed Ave.
  • MARSHFIELD: 508 N. Central, Suite 101
  • RACINE: 1120 S. Sunnyslope Dr.
  • WAUKESHA: 2111 Springdale Rd.
  • WEST BEND: 130 Valley Ave. 

Versiti says donating blood takes about an hour, with the actual donation taking 10-15 minutes. Anyone age 17 or older meeting eligibility requirements is encouraged to give. 

Donors should bring a photo ID that includes a birth date, and anyone entering Versiti facilities must wear a mask and have their temperature taken. 

To schedule an appointment, call 1-877-BE-A-HERO or visit versiti.org/Wisconsin.

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