Denver (KDVR) — The Red Cross has declared its first-ever national blood crisis, and doctors in some areas are being forced to delay blood transfusions for people who really need them.
Carol Turner is a former cancer patient. She is back to biking, hiking and climbing after a battle with two different forms of bone marrow cancer.
“As far as we know, as far as any of my doctors know, I’m the only patient with these two cancers at the same time,” Turner said.
The pediatrician in Conifer went through multiple rounds of chemotherapy and then received a bone marrow transplant at the Colorado Blood Cancer Institute at Presbyterian St. Lukes Medical Center in Denver.
Her sister was her donor. Turner did not need blood transfusions, but many other blood cancer patients do.
“The blood products are essential, essential for people’s lives. So many people will not get through these without getting red cell transfusions, platelet transfusions,” Turner said.
Doctors say the blood supply shortage was brought on in part by the pandemic and fewer donations.
“It limits the amount of blood available for us to use in the treatment of our patients,” said Dr. Peter McSweeney with the Colorado Blood Cancer Institute.
McSweeney says CBCI is getting by.
“We’ve considered how best to use the blood in a more regulated and tighter fashion,” he said.
Plus, the center is hosting large blood drives with staff members.
“Staff members have come forward and helped, but nationally there have been instances where there isn’t enough blood to give transfusions to people who need it,” he said.
This is a dire situation for some, and more donations are needed.
Here are some blood donation options: