Concerns over blood shortage in wake of flooding - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Concerns over blood shortage in wake of flooding

There are concerns about a blood shortage in the wake of recent flooding across Southern Louisiana, limiting access to donation sites and cancelling blood drives. (Source: KPLC) There are concerns about a blood shortage in the wake of recent flooding across Southern Louisiana, limiting access to donation sites and cancelling blood drives. (Source: KPLC)
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

The impact of the devastating flooding in Louisiana is causing concern about a blood shortage.  The constant demand for blood components has not changed, but the number of donors has dropped significantly.

Every two weeks, Chris Hansen of Moss Bluff grabs a chair, his apple juice and donates blood components.

"I've gotten calls from LifeShare saying they use my blood up in different places," said Hansen, "It's gone to Shreveport, Houston, so it is being used."

Hansen recognizes the daily need for donors, particularly in a time of crisis.
    
Centers like LifeShare Blood Centers in Lake Charles work to always stay three days ahead in their supply for those who will receive it, but that is more of a challenge right now with South Louisiana donors.

"We've had hundreds of units of blood that we were counting on that we just don't have anymore," said Patrick Fontenot, Donor Resources Coordinator for LifeShare in Lake Charles.

Fontenot says flooding forced the temporary closure of LifeShare in Baton Rouge, and canceled several blood drives that are needed to boost supply.

"We experienced some cancellations from our drives, especially in the Baton Rouge area with the flooding," he said.  "We also had the Jennings area, the Lake Arthur area, that we had drives set up that we had to cancel."

While many of these consistent donors are unable to give right now, Fontenot says those of us who can donate are directly helping flood-impacted communities by giving blood.

"If they feel that they want to try to help someone out, I know they can't go drive to Baton Rouge right now to do anything, but they can come here," said Fontenot.  "It takes 15-20 minutes of their time to give blood and it doesn't cost anything."

This center has been hit by floodwaters twice: Hurricane Rita in 2005 and Hurricane Ike in 2008, damaging equipment and supplies.  Now, a four foot high, eight inch thick flood wall protects the center from future flooding. 

LifeShare is always looking for businesses or groups to hold blood drives.  Call 337-436-4932 to schedule a drive.

To donate at LifeShare in Lake Charles, go to 214 Dr. Michael DeBakey Dr., near CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital.  Their donation hours are from 8:00 until 5:00 Monday through Friday, and 8:00 until noon on Saturday.

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