SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Hospitals in northwest Louisiana are operating with critically low blood supply levels, according to LifeShare Blood Center, due to days of forced closures from the historic winter storm.
Over the weekend, Benjamin Prijatel, executive director of blood operations, said LifeShare was operating under ‘emergency release protocol,’ which means blood was sent to hospitals untested.
Normally, blood is checked for infectious diseases, but, due to the extreme shortage, “hospitals have been transfusing untested blood since Thursday...”
Prijatel added that implementation of these emergency procedures is very rare.
Normally, during times of need, other cities, such as Monroe and Baton Rouge, could send necessary supplies — and vice versa. In fact, regional cities in neighboring states, like Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma, could also provide blood supplies to an affected blood center.
But, since the arctic weather stymied the entire region, it hindered “the ability for so many blood centers to collect and import blood for such a sustained period of time,” Prijatel added.
Prijatel explained that fridges used to store blood supplies at LifeShare have also been empty since Monday of last week.
“I have never seen the refrigerators so empty for so long,” he added.
Here are the LifeShare locations across the ArkLaTex:
- 8910 Linwood Avenue, 711096
- Bossier City
- 1523 Doctors Drive, 71111
- Texarkana, TX
- 4020 Summerhill Road, 75503
- El Dorado
- 1803 B North West Avenue, 71730
Click here to schedule an appointment.