Empty chairs and fewer appointments. The Blood Bank of Hawaii says that’s been pretty common this past month.
Currently, they have a one-day supply or less of Rh- blood. Those blood types include A-, B-, and O-, which are less common in Hawaii.
Leaders at the Blood Bank of Hawaii say the reason for the shortage is quite simple — more use and less donations. So it’s no surprise that January is National Blood Donor Month.
“So many people delay their elective surgeries during the holiday and they come back in the month of January,” said Dr. Kim-Anh Nguyen, President and CEO of the Blood Bank of Hawaii.
The shortage also carries into the early weeks of February.
“Also, donors tend not to donate during the winter months because of colds and flus. And during the holidays, it’s the last thing people think about,” Dr. Nguyen said.
Approximately 150 to 250 donors are needed in the state every day. If Hawaii were to experience a disaster and the blood supply is low, it would take two days for blood to arrive from the mainland.
“So when there is a major trauma, we deplete our very unusual Rh types. It could take us weeks to months to replenish that,” Dr. Nguyen said.
Ideally, the Blood Bank of Hawaii would like to have a week supply of blood throughout the state.
Some donors we spoke with have been giving blood since high school.
“I know it’s incredibly important to give blood just because it might not be you that needs it, but somebody you know down the line is gonna need blood,” blood donor Christinn Pacheco said.
For many of them, it’s a quick and painless process.
“I come here as often as I can, as long as I don’t have my work. I come here to donate when I can,” blood donor Randall Pang said.
And now, it’s never been easier to give.
“You can now make appointments online. You can go online and see where our blood drives are,” Dr. Nguyen said. “It takes only an hour to donate blood and it really doesn’t hurt that much. So please come out and support Hawaii’s patients.”
For more information on how you can donate blood, visit this website.