Close up on man giving blood at WDRB blood drive

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Louisville area is facing a critical blood shortage, and UofL Health is joining the Kentucky Blood Center to make an appeal for people to donate.

Mark Wilhoite, who spent Tuesday afternoon donating platelets at the KBC's Middletown location, said he knew there was a need.

"I Inquired about it and found out it was a very much needed thing," Wilhoite said.

Brooke Nevius with KBC said the COVID-19 pandemic caused a critical blood shortage across the state.

“Since COVID, it has been very difficult to maintain our blood supply," Nevius said. "We usually have a three-day supply on our shelf. We were down to a half a day, sometimes an hour."

The pandemic is part of the problem, but doctors said it's not the only thing draining the blood supply.

"There is just not enough to support everything we do in a hospital setting," said Dr. Jason Smith, chief medical officer at UofL Health.

Smith said the ongoing gun violence is the other issue.

"That's the big scare for us as a trauma center," he said. "You know, some of the shooting victims ... if they've got a massive injury, can use 30, 40, 50 units of blood. And when I look at my blood bank and I see 15, 20 units of our O negative blood that anyone can get, that really bothers me."

Smith said if things don't change, a lot of hospitals could be forced to make some tough decisions.

"We haven't had to do it yet, but we plan on canceling elective cases if we don't have the blood to support all the other stuff that we need to do as a trauma system," Smith said.

To replenish the blood supply, Smith said people need to donate more than once.

"If everyone donates all at once, we will have blood supply for 6-12 weeks, depending on the components, and then we are right back in the same thing," he said. "This needs to be a continual effort on everyone's part to make sure that we donate and that we build that blood supply up for a prolong period of time."

And that's why going to KBC was a priority Tuesday for Wilhoite.

"It is a commitment that I make that I enjoy," he said.

On July, WDRB News will be partnering with the Kentucky Blood Center for Give Blood Day, and we're inviting you to participate July 1. All donors will receive a KBC hat, two Cinemark movie passes and will be entered to win a 2021 Toyota C-HR. Donors can help boost the summer supply at either KBC location in Louisville.

Hillview Donor Center

Middletown Donor Center

Louisville Donor Center Hours:

  • Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Sunday – Closed

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