Boston Children’s Hospital in critical need of blood donations, here’s how you can help

BOSTON (WHDH) - Boston Children’s Hospital says they have a critical need for blood.

“Currently we need all blood types, blood platelets, double red cells,” says Cyndi MacKinlay, a bloodmobile coordinator for Boston Children’s Hospital’s Blood Donor Center.

She says blood donations are always at a constant need, but more so now with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s the blood on the shelves that saves lives. Currently we’ve had close to 20 blood drives canceled and that has resulted in the potential loss of 1,000 units of whole blood,” she said.

MacKinlay wants donors to know, the blood stays local.

“I think your donors would like to know that with one adult donation, because a pediatric patients’ blood volume is less, it has the potential to help up to 4 pediatric patients,” says MacKinlay.

MacKinlay says they anticipate the blood will remain at a critical level through the coming weeks and months.

The surgeon general also putting out a call for donors, specifically Millenials and Generation Z.

“Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement, so give blood, today,” says Surgeon General Jerome Adams.

The surgeon general says if you’re worried about COVID-19 exposure, blood centers across the country are taking CDC guidance, putting beds 6 feet apart, and using other precautions.

“We have arranged our wait area and our appointment schedule so that we are mindful of the social distancing and that donors are not going to be tripping over each other in order to come in and make their appointment, or they are waiting for their appointment,” she said.

The Children’s Hospital is strongly encouraging donors to make appointments to donate instead of walking in. You can do so by calling 617-355-667 and their website: www.halfpints.childrenshospital.org.

At the American Red Cross Blood Donor Center on Tremont Avenue, a sign says due a large influx of donors and staff shortages, they are no longer accepting walk-ins. They recommend visiting their blood donor app and website or calling to schedule an appointment. You can do so here: https://www.redcross.org/local/massachusetts.html

“If we don’t have the blood on the shelves in order for the surgeries to go forward, in order for a child to receive chemotherapy, it puts our caregivers in the unenviable position of having to prioritize patient need,” says MacKinlay.

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