Published by Kirby Winn on Friday, February 16, 2024 in Blog

Our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Daniela Hermelin, was recently interviewed for an article published by Verywell Health on how hospitals and blood providers respond when blood inventories are low. We always strive to avoid these circumstances, but there are times when weather related cancellations and other factors can lead to critical supply levels for certain blood types.

See below for an excerpt of the Verywell Health article featuring Dr. Hermelin, or read the full story here on the Verywell Health web site. 

What Do Hospitals Do in a Blood Shortage? (by Rachel Murphy - February 2, 2024)

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If there’s a shortage, blood centers often ask hospitals to lower their standard stocks of blood, Daniela Hermelin, MD, chief medical officer of ImpactLife, an independent community blood center serving Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and Wisconsin, told Verywell.

Type O negative blood, the universal donor, is the most important to have on hand because any patient in need can safely receive it.1 Type O negative blood is critical in trauma cases when there often isn’t enough time to find out a patient’s blood type.

For other procedures, Hermelin said that providers work with blood centers to be more strategic about ordering blood. For example, as long as a patient is stable, a provider may encourage them to wait to have surgery or get blood transfusions.

When medical directors have to prioritize surgeries, Hermelin explained that three procedures always take precedence: trauma, vascular transplant, and gastrointestinal bleeding. Time is a critical factor in all of these procedures. Organ transplants, in particular, are very time-sensitive and cannot wait for blood supplies to catch up.

Many cancer and hematology patients need blood transfusions as part of their treatment. To help make sure they have access to donated blood, hematology and oncology departments will also get preference during extreme shortages, according to Hermelin.

“They may not be getting transfused major quantities of blood, but they are being transfused normally in a prophylactic way to prevent spontaneous bleeding or strokes,” said Hermelin.

Read the full article on Verywell Health: What Do Hospitals Do in a Blood Shortage?


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About The Author

Kirby Winn

Kirby Winn serves as Manager, Public Relations for ImpactLife. He enjoys working with media across the blood center's service region to share the stories of patients who have been helped by the generous volunteers who support our mission.

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