Nationwide Blood Shortage Hits Alaska

The Blood Bank is critically low in five different blood types, O negative, O positive, A positive, B negative, and AB negative.

According to Jessica Golden, of the Blood Bank of Alaska, type-O (oh) blood is incredibly important in the state:

“In outlying areas they have to have “O” blood. So we go through a lot more “O” blood than other states; and the reason for that is that many outlying clinics, or facilities, do not have typing facilities available to them when the emergency arises. So they have to have “O” blood, which is the universal donor, on hand at all times.”

Golden says that a number of recent traumas, a nation-wide shortage and even the time of year have attributed to the situation:

“When people leave Anchorage and Fairbanks to go out fishing, and hunting, or camping, all of those things, it becomes more difficult to get people to walk in the door, go to that blood bank and donate.”

The blood bank needs to see at least 200 donors come through their doors each day in order to maintain a safe level of blood.

Golden says that blood levels are typically at their lowest both during the summer as well as around Christmas time, which is also when the most blood tends to be used:

“It’s sort of an irony that the two go hand-in-hand; that the times you use the most blood are also the times when people are the least likely to walk in your door.”

If you’re interested in donating, visit alaskapublic [dot] org for links to the complete schedule of upcoming blood drives.

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Josh is the Statewide Morning News Reporter/Producer for Alaska Public Media | jedge (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.550.8455 | About Josh

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