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Air medical services stress importance of blood donations as Nebraska enters blood emergency

Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 7:52 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 1, 2021 at 7:53 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Nebraska is in a blood emergency, according to the Nebraska Community Blood Bank. It’s because of a drop in donations, and a large spike in blood usage as hospitals perform surgeries postponed during the pandemic.

Some first responders that are worried about this aren’t on the ground, instead they’re in the air.

Flight paramedic, Joshua Kendrick, says when these patients need blood products, time is of the essence. For air medical services, sometimes packing blood can be the difference between life and death.

“These patients need it, and they need it now. It’s not something they can really wait on. If we don’t have it available to give it to them, there’s going to be a lot more problems for those patients, and it truly is a life-saving tool,” Kendrick said. ”While patients need blood, so do these first responders. According to the Nebraska Community Blood Bank, more than 50 percent of the blood supply was lost during the pandemic, and there is now less than a three day supply of all blood types.

While there is a shortage, it’s not affecting local air medical teams, just yet. They say if supplies keep dropping, that’s when there could be serious concerns. StarCare teams carry a unit of O positive and O negative blood types, and supply the units of blood at their facility in Crete.

“The nice thing about carrying it ourselves is that we don’t need to deplete their stock and then we can get it restocked directly from the Red Cross,” Kendrick said.

But in order to help these patients, air medical services need blood on the shelves.

“When those patients are bleeding and they need life-saving capabilities, if it’s not there they can’t get the help that they need,” said Kendrick.

As a reminder, The Nebraska Community Blood Bank and American Red Cross are always accepting donations.

10/11 NOW is partnering with the Nebraska Community Blood Bank on July 8, 2021 at the Havelock United Methodist Church. More information on the blood drive and how you can help can be found here.

Blood drive Thursday, July 8 at Havelock United Methodist Church.
Blood drive Thursday, July 8 at Havelock United Methodist Church.

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