Doctors weigh in on national, state blood shortages; how hospitals are preparing for hurricane season

Local News

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – As the nation continues to experience a severe shortage in blood supply, doctors explain the importance of hospitals having enough blood during hurricane season.

Doctors with Tidelands Health said blood donations are needed to make sure hospital shelves remain stocked with lifesaving blood for patients in need.

“As we go into known times of increased demand or increased need we also have tamper that out and walk a fine line with our ability to preserve it, to safely store it,” Vice-President for Nursing and Operations, Ashley Capps said.

Capps said they store the blood carefully to make sure it doesn’t spoil and use it as soon as possible.

“We want to use it as we receive it. You don’t want to have too much and you don’t want to have too little,” Capps said.

The Red Cross has reported that the blood shortage has forced changes in hospital across the country and right here in the state of South Carolina. Although the blood shortage is not something that Tidelands Health has experienced. Capps said it’s important to have enough blood to treat patients who need it.

“It is kind of a tight rope that you walk there and so we do anticipate surges and we anticipate weather events. It is very critical that we maintain our courier blood products quickly and move blood within our system and so that is what we rely on,” Capps said.

Capps said that Tidelands Health communicates with the Red Cross often to make sure the hospital has enough blood supply for every day treatment and in case a disaster strikes as the country continues to experience a severe blood shortage. Although doctors with Tidelands Health say the blood shortage is not something they have had to experience, they are urging people to give blood.

“We are currently well stocked. As a part of standard of care its important for a hospital to maintain a good supply,” Capps said.

Capps said when it comes to having a good supply of blood, it can be used on a number of different patients including patients needing a blood transfusion.

“Emergency care, trauma related care and surgical care for our community butted to a population of patients like oncology patients or hematology patients that rely on serial blood transfusions,” Capps said.

Capps added it is quite common to see a need for blood during the summer.

“Tidelands Health does have two opportunities upcoming for donation. Because as the Red Cross has shared the national blood supply is low and we tend to see a surge on the summer time.”

Those two blood drives are planned for the next few weeks: One on July 9 at Tidelands Health Medical Park South Campus. The other one will be held on July 26 at the Health Point Campus on Pawleys Island.

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