UK HealthCare has critically low blood supply

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- UK HealthCare’s blood supply is critically low.

It says it’s part of a national shortage due to COVID-19.

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“The shortage of blood supply is mainly due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, which resulted in poor collections. Transfusions are currently outpacing donations. UK HealthCare depends on the Kentucky Blood Center to help supply the needed blood to support local patients. We need you now more than ever to donate blood and save lives,” Daoping Zhang,Chief Medical Technologist at UK’s Blood Bank, said.

UK HealthCare says all blood types are needed, but Type O especially because it’s used for trauma patients who doctors often have to help immediately before knowing their blood type.

Eastern Kentucky University graduate, 22-year-old Cameron Catron, knows that now.

He was taken to the ER with a gunshot wound about a year ago after being shot outside a bar in downtown Lexington.

“I would not have lived if I didn’t receive an enormous amount of blood while hospitalized. I lost more than 20 units of blood in my first two days in the hospital,” Catron said.

UK HealthCare says Catron was hospitalized for two months, but is healthy now.

“I highly encourage people to donate blood,” he said. “There are so many different situations where people need blood to live another second, another minute, or another day. You never know when your number is called where you will need blood yourself.”

Trauma surgeon Dr. Andrew Bernard helped save Catron’s life.

“The life you save may be your own,” he said.

UK HealthCare says it transfuses about 35,000 units of blood in a year, not just in the ER, but in several departments for all sorts of medical uses.

UK HealthCare also spoke with Kayla Puckett who received blood during treatment for stage IV Kodgkin’s lymphoma, with which she was diagnosed at 19-years-old.

“My life was flipped upside down and everything I had worked towards was sidelined,” she said, “I couldn’t even stand up without my vision blacking out and my ears ringing…My parents would put me in a wheelchair and take me in for a blood transfusion on those days.”

She told UK blood helped her be able to stand on her own again.

“Without them, there is no way I could’ve completed my treatments,” she said. “I know that getting stuck with needles isn’t fun, but I am so grateful for their donation. With a little bit of pain, they helped me live.”

Puckett has been cancer free for a year and is studying biomedical science at Eastern Kentucky University.

“A little bit of their time and a small bit of pain can save a person’s life,” she said. “If it was a family member or friend, then you would donate to save their life. Well, the people you are donating for are someone else’s family member or friend.”

There will be a blood drive at UK HealthCare from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on July 6th in room HA-1116 inside UK Chandler Hospital.

You must wear a face mask. You can make an appointment here. UK strongly encourages making one. It also encourages social distancing.

You can also make your stay at the drive shorter by completing your health history questionnaire online.

You can donate anytime at Kentucky Blood Center. Appointments are required. Call 1-800-775-2522 to make one or visit  www.kybloodcenter.org.

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Veronica Jean Seltzer joins ABC 36 as Anchor/Reporter. On most weekdays, you will see her reporting the news. VJ hails from a small horse farm outside New York City and most recently comes from South Bend, Indiana where she reported for the CBS and Fox affiliates. VJ holds a Master of Science in Journalism degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University. Her passion for journalism runs deep. It began as she studied graffiti as an ancient form of communication in Athens, Greece. While a student journalist in Morocco, she learned her most important journalistic lesson: good stories are about people. VJ loves life in and around Lexington. She feels most at home among horses and a diverse community of fascinating people. She enjoys reporting during the week and on the weekend she strives to bring her neighbors the news that matters most to them. VJ enjoys going to neighborhood events, exploring, horseback riding, skiing, sailing, and good movies. Look for her out and about in the community! VJ invites you to reach out to her with story ideas or just to say hello! Find her on Facebook at Veronica Jean Seltzer ABC 36, tweet her @VJS_ABC36, or email her at VSeltzer@wtvq.com. She looks forward to hearing from you!