‘A very big deal’: RI’s blood supply dangerously low

Health

PROVIDENCE,R.I. (WPRI) ─ Rhode Island’s blood supply is running critically low, according to the R.I. Blood Center.

The R.I. Blood Center recently declared a “blood emergency” statewide, meaning supplies have dropped below required minimums.

Jonathan DeCasanova, a donor recruiter for the R.I. Blood Center, tells 12 News the long-term impacts of the pandemic are primarily what’s causing the shortage.

He said this past year there have been significantly fewer blood drives and first-time donors.

“I think a lot of people believe that blood is always a steady supply and unfortunately, that’s not always the case,” he said. “It has to come from somewhere.”

DeCasanova knows all too well the importance of donating blood.

In 2012, DeCasanova said he was diagnosed with aplastic anemia and lymphatic cancer. He said he underwent a variety of treatments, including regular blood transfusions.

“That was a big part of my recovery,” he said, adding that overtime he received more than 100 units of blood. “I wouldn’t be here without those.”

Right now, the R.I. Blood Center currently has a three-day supply for all blood types on hand, as compared to its typical seven-day supply pre-pandemic.

DeCasanova, who is now cancer-free, said without an ample supply, the R.I. Blood Center can’t meet every hospital’s needs.

“They need this blood,” DeCasanova said. “Right now, we actually aren’t able to fulfill all of the requests that the hospitals are reaching out to us for, and we want to. We want to and we need to, not only for the hospitals, but ultimately for those patients who are in need.”

“Not having that blood there is a very big deal,” he continued.

Anyone interested in donating blood can schedule an appointment online or by calling (401) 453-8383.

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