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ARH faces blood shortage

Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital is facing a critical blood shortage as summer gets into full swing, and trauma cases increase.

Community Chief Executive Officer Dena Sparkman said blood supplies are normally down during the summer months, but this year is worse than normal. Sparkman said people have been quarantined for nearly a year, and blood donations aren’t at the top of their list of things to do. They’re also getting out more, which means more need for blood.

“The supply goes down, the demand goes up with car wrecks, ATV wrecks, just general trauma,” Sparkman said. “You layer on top of that the pandemic, and it’s gotten even worse.”

She said while all blood types are needed, O negative is especially important. People with O negative blood type are universal donors whose blood can be given to anyone else, regardless of type. O positive is the most common type among all ethnicities, followed by A positive and B positive. AB negative is the rarest of the eight major blood types, though there are much rarer types that are unique to certain ethnic groups.

The shortage is not just in Letcher County. The Red Cross has issued a severe blood shortage alert, urging donors to give as soon as possible.

The Kentucky Bloodmobile will be at the Whitesburg Hospital from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on July 21.

Anyone 17 and over who weighs at least 110 pounds and is in general good health can give blood, subject to a medical screening. Teens can give blood at age 16 with written permission from their parents.

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