Mississippi Blood Services in Oxford has declared a shortage due to the inclement weather and sickness that has swept over the state this month. According to supervisor Jackie Spencer, the service is about 1,000 units behind its usual monthly quota.
“The weather really put us behind, because all the ice and snow meant people couldn’t drive out to donate or work,” she said. “The widespread flu going around has also been an issue, as less people are donating because they are sick. All in all, we’re about a week behind.”
A blood shortage, according to the Red Cross, is declared when a city or area has five or fewer days of viable blood supplies left to use for treatment. Such shortages usually occur in the summer, Red Cross data reveals; however, this cold season has made it more difficult for many cities to collect enough blood this winter. The low supply in Oxford is only symptomatic of a larger, nationwide trend.
A blood shortage of such magnitude in Oxford has implications for the newly opened Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi, which receives most of its blood from the local Mississippi Blood Services clinic.
If the blood shortage persists, elective surgeries will begin to be postponed, as blood will need to be saved for more serious procedures.
The hospital and Mississippi Blood Services both encourage students and members of the community to donate whenever they see an office or blood mobile. Donations take around 10 minutes, and donors must be at least 16 years old, in good health and weigh at least 110 pounds. Each donor receives free juice, snacks and a T-shirt upon donation.
The Mississippi Blood Services mobile was on campus Monday providing such services and plans to return within the next three months.
“We had a pretty slow day, I think because so many students are sick,” Spencer said. “We’re going to wait until this blows over before we come back to campus. However, we still encourage people to come by our physical location.”
Mississippi Blood Services, Oxford, is located at 2627A West Oxford Loop, right off Jackson Avenue.
Theresa Frost, senior criminal justice major, said she has donated blood at that location multiple times.
“I went with a friend right after the Las Vegas shooting, when a national blood shortage was declared,” Frost said. “Now that the shortage is local, I plan to go again soon. As someone interested in being a cop one day, I like to think that my donation will save, or at least help, a life.”
Around 38 percent of the United States population is eligible for blood donation, but less than 10 percent chooses to donate. There is little risk associated with donating blood, as long as the donor is in good health and makes sure to take care of himself for the rest of the day. Donating to Mississippi Blood Services, Oxford could ultimately help save a local life and help end the blood shortage the community faces.