LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Blood donors are needed across Acadiana while the nation is still facing its worst blood shortage in the last decade.

Every two seconds, someone needs blood. One donation can help up to three people.

Area hospitals and donation centers are still seeing a shortage in some blood type supplies. However, donations centers are seeing a steady rise in donors.

“It’s really those repeat donors we love to see come in. They keep donations top of mind,” Stephanie Kizziar with Vitalant said.

In a Facebook post, Ochsner Lafayette General said the national blood shortage is hitting close to home within their hospital system.

They admitted to having a critical supply of blood and platelets, going as far as to say, “it has never been this low.”

The post says they need donations to help prevent further delays in medical treatments.

“They had a blood emergency,” Kizziar explained. “They were down to one bag of platelets due to unexpected surgeries they had come in. That can happen. We had to find blood to get to them as soon as possible.”

Vitalant is one of the oldest blood banks in the nation, servicing about 900 hospitals, including 23 hospitals across 21 parishes in the state.

They are currently trying to navigate the two-year low.

Kizziar said the facility had about an eight-day supply of type O+, but less than a day’s worth of O- on hand as of Tuesday. O+ is the most common blood type, and O- is known as the “universal” blood type since most people can accept it for emergency transfusions.

Several factors are at play causing the crisis:

  • There is a 10% overall donation decline since March 2020.
  • Over 60% of high school and college blood drives were canceled due to the pandemic.
  • Student donors made up about 25% of donors in 2019, that number was down to less than 10% during the pandemic.

“When we lost the education blood drives, that really hurt us. That made up about 30 percent of our drives,” Kizziar said.

News 10 reached out to Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center, and their blood center is facing similar realities.

Supervisor Suzy Picard said their biggest demand is type O red blood cells and type A and AB platelets.

Kizziar said Vitalant is in need of all types, but especially type O and AB platelets.

To learn more about Vitalant, visit their website. Click here to schedule an appointment with Our Lady of Lourdes Blood Center.