A Lake Charles blood bank is critically low in blood supplies and there is fear the shortage is only going to grow as Hurricane Isaac disrupts some donors' plans. We found out what has led to the empty refrigerators and why help is needed immediately from those that can give.
As Lifeshare Blood Center Donor Coordinator, Kristi Morris, pulls out empty drawers of the blood storage unit, she expresses concern over a lack of supply. "This is not what we want to see," she said.
Morris counts the shelves that should be packed with blood and finds the amount about half of the optimal level to last for six days. "That means you have it for the hospitals when they need it, you can handle any emergencies at any given time," she said.
A slow summer for donations, mixed with the Labor Day holiday weekend and Hurricane Isaac truly creates the perfect storm for the chairs at Lifeshare to be empty. "People are batting down the hatches," said Morris, "they're getting ready for a hurricane, we have to make sure that we're ready for any kind of emergency."
It takes about 1,600 units of blood, platelets and plasma every month to take care of Southwest Louisiana. Now factor in Isaac and the demand soars. "There are our sister cities of New Orleans, even on over to Baton Rouge that may be shut down, not able to collect blood, but their patients still need it," said Morris.
Hurricane Rita shut down the Lifeshare building seven years ago, and blood was brought in from donors in other parts of the state. That is one reason why Morris says people here should roll up their sleeves and give. "We're talking 30-45 minutes, you even get benefits, you have a little mini physical where they're gonna check your cholesterol and your blood pressure and your pulse," said Morris.
It is a half-hour time commitment that could save a life here or across the state and something that needs to be done soon - to have the blood supply ready to go.
Since it takes two days to have a donor's blood ready for distribution, there is a big push to get hundreds of units Thursday, so that it will be available by the weekend. If you can donate, head to the Isle of Capri blood drive from 11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. Thursday. All donors will get a free buffet for helping out.
LifeShare Blood Centers
214 Dr. Michael DeBakey Drive
McNeese State University
Wednesday, August 29
Vinton High School
Calcasieu Parish Clerk of Courts
Thursday, August 30
The Isle of Capri Casino Resort
All donors will receive a FREE Buffet
Friday, August 31
Saturday, September 1