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Kansas City Blood Bank Declares Shortage

Adam Piotrowski
The Community Blood Center of Greater Kansas City has declared a blood shortage after donations dropped off in November.

Donations to the Community Blood Center of Greater Kansas City always drop off around the holidays, but lower-than-expected collections last month have led to a shortage.

“We try to collect more blood in anticipation of those days off, and we usually do OK,” says Executive Director David Graham. “But we had more of a challenge this year than normal. November is traditionally a strong month of blood collections for us, and it wasn’t quite as strong this year.”

Graham says his agency took a bigger hit the week of Thanksgiving than it does most years. Stocks of O positive and O negative, the two most commonly transfused blood types, have fallen to two days' worth of supplies. Typically, the blood center tries to keep three to five days of blood on hand.

Graham says he’s spoken to neighboring agencies, but no one else is experiencing quite the same shortage as Kansas City.

“Generally we all within the industry see a good November collection,” he says. “While they did, we saw less success.”

He’s hoping a couple of big mobile blood drives scheduled for later this month will help replenish supplies.

The blood center is currently in need of all types of blood, not just O positive and O negative.

If they don’t get it, they’ll reach out to hospitals to see if they have an abundance of any type and might ask them to share.

“I’m not panicked, I just would like to be in a little stronger position going into the holidays,” Graham says.

To donate, visit the Community Blood Center’s website.

Elle Moxley is a reporter for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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