Published on December 21, 2021

Essentia Health urges people to donate blood amid severe shortage

Like hospitals across the country, Essentia Health is facing a severe blood shortage and urging people to donate accordingly. With the holiday season in full swing, donation numbers are usually lower this time of year, which is hurting an already-hampered supply due to fewer people donating during the pandemic.

Shelly Moen, laboratory operations director for Essentia Health’sEast Market, says there is currently a critical need for Type O-negative, a blood type that has universal acceptance. There is also an urgent need for all other blood types.

“Blood shortages can pose a significant risk to hospital operations and can result in delay of some surgeries,” said Dr. Maria Beaver, a pathologist and transfusion services medical director at Essentia Health. “A healthy and continuous blood supply is crucial for normal operations and excellent patient care.”

Essentia is strongly encouraging healthy people to consider the gift of donation this holiday season to replenish the blood supply both within and outside our region.

“We are really hoping people can get in and donate blood before holiday travel starts,” said Moen. “This will help us build up an adequate supply to hopefully get through the holiday season when not as many people are in town to donate.”

It’s said that every two seconds in the U.S. someone will need blood. And blood from one donation can save up to three lives.

To be eligible to donate blood, you must be 17 years old (16 with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and in good health.

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