Hurricane Matthew has significantly impaired the ability for blood centers in the southeast to collect what patients need, and LifeShare Community Blood Services is urging area residents to donate platelets now to help boost a critically low supply.
LifeShare is part of the Blood Systems national network of blood centers. Platelet inventories are 50 percent below normal levels — only about a half day’s worth — a situation that’s being felt across the country.
OneBlood, Florida’s largest blood center, has a severe shortage of platelets and has asked LifeShare and others for help, but there is no surplus to send.
“We stand ready to help communities affected by this catastrophic storm once we can get our own platelet supply closer to normal levels,” said Debbie Bonzak, executive director for LifeShare Community Blood Services. “We want to be sure our supply is strong so we can meet local patient needs first and then we can help communities in other parts of the country.”
Platelets help control bleeding. They are used in the treatment of patients undergoing chemotherapy, surgery or transplant. Their shelf life is just five days, while whole blood or red cell donations can last 42 days.
Those who wish to help may call 866-644-5433 or visit www.lifesharedonor.org to make an appointment to donate.
More information can be found at www.lifeshare.cc.