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Las Vegas Blood Needs Met for Now, So Schedule Appointments in Coming Weeks

Dr. Elizabeth Yuko is the Health Editor at SheKnows. She is a bioethicist and writer specializing in sexual and reproductive health and the intersection of bioethics and popular culture. She is an adjunct professor of ethics at Fordham ...

Why now is not the best time to donate blood in Las Vegas

When one of the largest mass shootings in U.S. history resulted in at least 59 people being killed and more than 500 injured, it was a major strain on the city’s medical facilities and blood supply, and people took immediate action. But following the immediate and significant response to calls to donate blood, United Blood Services in Nevada reported yesterday that they are now able to meet the blood needs of the victims of the shootings and request that would-be donors make appointments to give blood in the weeks to come.

After Sunday’s shooting, the mayor of Las Vegas and governor of Nevada asked those in the area to give blood, the response was overwhelming — lines hundreds of people deep stretching for blocks around the three donation centers, NBC News reports. The shooting and desperate need for a large volume of blood comes a few months after Nevada experienced a blood shortage officials said was dangerously low.

Now, thanks to the outpouring of love, support and blood, the Las Vegas area is all set for donations at the moment.

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But the supply won’t last forever. Thinking ahead to future blood needs in the community is important because blood products have a limited shelf life — 42 days for red blood cells and five days for platelets, so it must be constantly replenished, UBS said in a statement.

Rather than donating now, UBS is encouraging donors to schedule an appointment by calling 877-UBS-HERO (877-827-4376) or online at bloodhero.com. Because of the increased interest, UBS said that donors may experience extended wait times when scheduling on the phone or online.

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“While we are in awe of the incredible outpouring of support from the hundreds of local residents and from those across the country, it’s important to note that in any situation where blood transfusions are needed, it’s the blood already on the shelf that saves lives,” UBS said in a statement. “We understand that people want to come forward now to show their support, however, to effectively manage the blood supply for patients, we are asking donors to make appointments to give blood throughout the coming weeks.” 

As always, those located outside Nevada who wish to donate blood can visit the American Red Cross website and enter their zip code to find the nearest blood drive.

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