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  • Sara Doan, Northeast Arkansas News

Northeast Arkansas feeling the impact of the national blood shortage

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, Ark- The American red cross is experiencing a severe shortage of blood. Northeast Arkansas news finds out how dire it is and what the red cross credits the shortage to.

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused many shortages, but one of the most important shortages is blood.

The Red Cross credits summer and the covid-19 pandemic for causing the drastic decline in donations.

“Part of that is I think is organ transplants, elective surgeries, trauma cases, are really on the rise and that really depletes the nation’s blood inventory and, it’s no different here in Missouri and Arkansas, it’s going to do the same thing,” says Red Cross regional marketing manager, Joe Zydlo.

He also credits summer to the shortage as fewer people donate.

The red cross typically notices a dip in donations this time of year but says this is larger and started earlier than expected.

The non-profit supplies 40% of the country’s blood supply.

And one medical center that benefits from red cross blood is NEA Baptist Hospital. They’re experiencing a shortage on the front lines.

“As far as blood shortages are concerned, we see that here. We’re seeing again sort of a drop-off as far as donations are concerned. We’re fairly critical right now,” says pathologist Dr. Ashton Byington.

The Red Cross needs life-saving donations from all donors.

But they’re in an emergency need of one specific type as they try to keep a five-day supply of blood.

However, that’s shrinking due to the shortage.

“An O donor would be the most useful in terms of donating blood,” says Dr. Byington.

“We have literally about a day and a half supply nationally of O, type O blood supply,” Zydlo said. “So that’s pretty grave.”

Both Zydlo and Dr. Byington say the shortage can be life or death for a patient.

“If you don’t have the blood products, that procedure doesn’t happen…and that could be the difference between life and death,” the Red Cross marketing manager says.

“Those can be challenging to try and stabilize those patients and keep them safe while also trying to manage blood product at the same time,” said Dr. Byington.

Zydlo and Byington say if people roll up their sleeves and donate blood, this can help combat that shortage.

If you’re interested in donating, you can schedule an appointment by download the red cross blood donor app. You can also book an appointment by going to


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