Blood donor shortage could become problem this year
Almost every year there is the dreaded summer shortage in the supply of blood donations to German hospitals. But this year, the problem of the shortage of blood reserves could increase again during the vacation season. Operations have already had to be canceled at individual clinics in the Free State. "There is not yet a Bavaria-wide state of emergency, but the situation is definitely very serious," said Patric Nohe of the Bavarian Red Cross (BRK) blood donation service.
A spokesman for the Bavarian Ministry of Health in Munich said the current shortage was "not remotely comparable" to that of a pandemic-free summer. Usually, the volume of blood donations decreases in the warm months, also because many donors are away on vacation.
This year, however, there is the added impact of the Corona crisis. Many hospitals had canceled treatments that could be postponed and are now inviting patients after the situation in the intensive care units has eased. This is cranking up demand for blood supplies. "The current enormous demand from hospitals is due to operations that were postponed due to the pandemic and now need to be made up," explains the ministry spokesman.
Fewer surgeries due to lack of blood
Sometimes this has led to surgeries being canceled again - because there was not enough blood on hand. So far, however, these have only been isolated cases, said a spokesman for the Bavarian Hospital Association.Like the BRK, the hospital association is calling on citizens to take advantage of blood donation appointments in the coming weeks. This is to prevent an emergency situation from arising during the school vacations in August. The BRK blood donation service offers many appointments in all regions in the coming period, Nohe explained. "We are working on the maximum."
The BRK Society supplies most of the blood consumed in the Free State. However, people can also donate at companies and clinics. However, the range of services offered by university hospitals in the Free State, for example, is not as extensive. In other German states, clinics sometimes have significantly larger offers for donors.
Nevertheless, the ministry sees no reason at the moment to expand the offer in the Free State. First of all, "the available appointments at all providers would have to be taken up accordingly," the spokesman said. Especially the donation appointments offered by the BRK service in the area would be used by a large part of the people, since these offers are associated with effort.
Photo by LuAnn Hunt