O Negative blood shortage impacts local man’s survival chances


AUGUSTA (WJBF) – A nationwide scarcity of O negative blood is now hitting close to home.

“They need it. Their shelves are empty.”

Clair Ryan says her husband, Robert, is being impacted by this national shortage of O negative blood.

“Well, he’s been battling blood cancer for a while. After that he had levels where his blood and white blood cells and hemoglobin they all dropped significantly, and the need for those things are great”, says Clair Ryan, Robert’s wife.

Ryan was admitted into the hospital on Wednesday and since then his blood levels have hit an all-time low.

“It’s pretty low, the normal level is 13 and by the next morning, it decreased to 5.3 and who knows what it is now.”

David McCowan is a friend of the Ryan family. He says Robert has become the local face of this national blood type shortage.

“I guess this is part of the impact of the Covid pandemic, that people are not out giving blood as much as they use to and that’s created a national shortage.”

The American Red Cross reports this is the worst blood shortage the organization has experienced in more than decade. They say because of the low supply hospitals are having to defer patients from major surgeries, including organ transplants.

“Someone who goes in for an appendix attack or a trauma from an accident, they don’t think that there’s not going to be any blood to help them. You know, it’s only when you stumble across it like this that you find out that the need is really really great. So, it isn’t only for Robert, it’s a need for everybody, nationwide.”, says Clair

And while O negative is the rarest blood type, doctors say it’s the most used for transfusions when the blood type is unknown; and for those who have that O negative type, that’s the only transfusion they can be given.

“I’d like to see people nationwide come forward and if they ever felt that they wanted to donate blood or that they needed to, now would be a great time. People don’t know, there not aware of the shortage so we need to get that word out.

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