The blood shortage is forcing the delay of New England surgery

Some New England hospitals are delaying or rescheduling surgeries due to a lack of blood donations during the pandemic.

“We haven’t seen anything like it in about 30 or 40 years at least,” Dr. Vishesh Chhibber, director of transfusion medicine at UMass Memorial Health, told the Boston Globe.

Periodic and localized blood scarcity is not uncommon, but this deficiency is “unprecedented in its purpose,” said Dr. Claudia Cohn, chief medical officer of the American Association of Blood Banks.

Officials point to a number of factors, including the typical summer drop in blood donations at a time when surgeries are increasing due to procedures that were delayed during the pandemic.

Nationally, the Red Cross normally has a five-day supply for all blood types, said Kelly Isenor, spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Red Cross.

Right now, the much-needed O-type blood supply would last only half a day. “It came out faster than the next one,” Isenor said.

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