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Health & Wellness

Doctors Urge People to Donate Blood to Combat Shortages

A person donating blood
Vesna Andjic
Getty Images
The need for blood comes as people resume elective surgeries delayed by COVID, along with a rise in trauma cases.

The Red Cross is urging people to donate blood to help with a blood shortage as patients resume elective surgeries and trauma cases increase across the nation.

Cardiothoracic surgeon Junaid Haroon, with Southern Illinois Healthcare, said he and other doctors have been managing so far, but he's seen firsthand what it can be like in places without a blood bank system.

"I feel very strongly about blood donation. I come from a third world country where we don't have a robust blood donation program, so I've seen the flip side of when there is a blood shortage, how patients suffer," he said.

Haroon, who is from Pakistan, said it's only the efforts of blood donors and organizations like the Red Cross that keeps American patients from facing the same challenges.

"How things work in my country run is, if somebody needs blood, you have to ask the patient's family to arrange for blood. And while they arrange for blood, the patient lays in the hospital and suffers and bleeds. A lot of times, if they can't arrange for blood in time, patients do die," Haroon said.

Anyone who wants to donate blood can visit the Red Cross website to find out more.