Eli5 Why is there a blood shortage

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Why is there a blood shortage if there are always donation drives and family members are always there willing to provide for their loved ones if ever blood donation is needed?

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14 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

1) there “always being donation drives” does NOT mean that there’s an unlimited blood supply.

2) imagine your single great-uncle is injured at work and looses half of his blood and is in critical need of a transfusion. Even if there are people willing to give blood to family members, there are times when:
a) family members AREN’T always willing to help
b) family members aren’t able to help (due to time / location / blood type), or
c) there is too much blood needed for one or two family members to provide the donation.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Even with donation drives, we need a LOT of blood for medical reasons, and we don’t have enough people donating blood. If there’s 500 people donating blood each day, but we need 750 people’s worth, that will cause a blood shortage.

Anonymous 0 Comments

* You can’t store blood for very long, so we constantly have to get more donations or else we run out very quickly.
* With modern medicine, it’s quite possible for people to lose way more blood than it would take to kill them while they are being treated. I knew someone who was getting a tumor removed, and it was being fed by a major blood vessel. Every time the doctors clamped it, my friend went into cardiac arrest on the operating table, so instead they just left it partially open and bleeding the whole time they operated–keeping her blood pressure up with constant transfusions. My friend got like 8 or 10 units’ worth of blood, whereas you can only donate 2 units max at a time. So 5 to 10 people would have had to donate blood just for my friend to survive that one surgery.
* Not all blood types work for all people. The “universal donor” type is fairly rare. So if someone is dying and needs type O blood, it doesn’t really matter how much AB blood you have.

Anonymous 0 Comments

1) there “always being donation drives” does NOT mean that there’s an unlimited blood supply.

2) imagine your single great-uncle is injured at work and looses half of his blood and is in critical need of a transfusion. Even if there are people willing to give blood to family members, there are times when:
a) family members AREN’T always willing to help
b) family members aren’t able to help (due to time / location / blood type), or
c) there is too much blood needed for one or two family members to provide the donation.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Even with donation drives, we need a LOT of blood for medical reasons, and we don’t have enough people donating blood. If there’s 500 people donating blood each day, but we need 750 people’s worth, that will cause a blood shortage.

Anonymous 0 Comments

>family members are always there willing to provide for their loved ones…

Besides lots of people not having family members (or not enough family members), what if someone is in a car accident and is losing litres of blood. They need a transfusion NOW, like right there in the back of the ambulance, or else they’ll be dead before reaching the hospital. In that case it doesn’t matter how many willing-donor family members the person has – if the ambulance doesn’t have a stock of donated blood already on board, there’s no time for the person’s family to donate fast enough to save them. You might need 10 peoples’ donations worth of blood in the first half hour of treatment. How many people have 10 local family members that could all be reached and arrive at the scene of the accident within that time? I sure don’t. And that’s assuming the victim is even conscious and able to give you those 10 family members’ contact info.

So if I need a 10 unit transfusion and survive, it will be because random strangers donated just in case someone needed it.

Anonymous 0 Comments

>family members are always there willing to provide for their loved ones…

Besides lots of people not having family members (or not enough family members), what if someone is in a car accident and is losing litres of blood. They need a transfusion NOW, like right there in the back of the ambulance, or else they’ll be dead before reaching the hospital. In that case it doesn’t matter how many willing-donor family members the person has – if the ambulance doesn’t have a stock of donated blood already on board, there’s no time for the person’s family to donate fast enough to save them. You might need 10 peoples’ donations worth of blood in the first half hour of treatment. How many people have 10 local family members that could all be reached and arrive at the scene of the accident within that time? I sure don’t. And that’s assuming the victim is even conscious and able to give you those 10 family members’ contact info.

So if I need a 10 unit transfusion and survive, it will be because random strangers donated just in case someone needed it.

Anonymous 0 Comments

* You can’t store blood for very long, so we constantly have to get more donations or else we run out very quickly.
* With modern medicine, it’s quite possible for people to lose way more blood than it would take to kill them while they are being treated. I knew someone who was getting a tumor removed, and it was being fed by a major blood vessel. Every time the doctors clamped it, my friend went into cardiac arrest on the operating table, so instead they just left it partially open and bleeding the whole time they operated–keeping her blood pressure up with constant transfusions. My friend got like 8 or 10 units’ worth of blood, whereas you can only donate 2 units max at a time. So 5 to 10 people would have had to donate blood just for my friend to survive that one surgery.
* Not all blood types work for all people. The “universal donor” type is fairly rare. So if someone is dying and needs type O blood, it doesn’t really matter how much AB blood you have.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Relatives aren’t always a match for blood and some relatives can’t give blood, in general the main shortage is for universal blood that can be given when the hospital doesn’t know the blood type of the patient like in an accident. https://youtu.be/pt9ZBw8C1nk

Anonymous 0 Comments

You got it the wrong way around.

There are always donation campaigns because there is a blood shortage.