Several weeks during the past six months, blood donations at Marsh have rivaled all-time high numbers, according to Marsh officials. However, rapidly surging demand for blood at the 17 local hospitals supplied by Marsh has continued to outpace blood donations.
During the past weekend, blood bank shelves were literally void of O negative blood. Increased demands have driven Marsh to search for and purchase blood through other blood centers and the National Blood Exchange program. But blood bank representatives say some blood types such as O negative are simply not available for purchase.
Currently, Marsh Regional Blood Center's supply of O negative blood remains at critically low levels. Types O positive, A negative and A positive are also needed for traumas and surgeries throughout the area.
Increased summer travel and activities cause donations to decrease and accidents to increase. Marsh officials say this time of year is typically their most difficult season, without accounting for rising demands.
They said this is not a short-term situation. Instead, local demand for blood is increasing and shows no sign of slowing.
Individuals who would like to donate blood can go to the collection centers at 102 E. Ravine Road, Suite 200, in Kingsport and in Bristol at 1 Medical Park Blvd. on the Main Floor of Bristol Regional Medical Center.
Blood donations can also be made during mobile blood drives in the area.
For more information about Marsh Regional Blood Center or your eligibility to donate blood call 224-5888.