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LifeShare Blood Centers reports dwindling blood supply, urges donations

Kate Archer Kent

Shreveport-based LifeShare Blood Centers says its supply of O-negative and B-negative blood has dropped to very low levels and it’s urging anyone with these blood types to donate, if possible. 

It’s ramped up its donation events with 40 planned over the next four days in north and central Louisiana and south Arkansas. LifeShare spokeswoman Tina Hooper said donations normally dip during the holidays and that means the supply in January is generally a bit lower. She said LifeShare is drawing on its reserves with only about a two-day supply on hand.

“Now it’s kind of catching up with us. That cushion that we have to make sure supply is available in case there is increased usage - in case of emergency - we’re pulling from that supply and it’s dwindling down to that couple days right now," Hooper said.

LifeShare’s shortage is not unique. Hooper said blood banks nationwide  are dealing with reduced supplies for a variety of reasons. O-negative, the universal donor that all blood types can take, is especially in demand.

"Many of the blood centers are struggling, particularly for the O-negative blood type. Those up North for obvious reasons have had a lot of closures with the blood drives. So then when we’re all in our last day, we’re not willing to give any up unless it’s that matter of life and death. We have to take care of our own community first," Hooper said.

LifeShare has a list of donation events on its website sorted by zip code. Hooper said her organization supplies close to 100,000 blood units a year to hospitals and medical facilities in this region. The supply will stabilize, she estimates, if 200 people with O-negative and B-negative blood come forward to donate.