Blood shortage is forcing Utah healthcare providers to make tough decisions


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SALT LAKE CITY – Utah’s largest healthcare providers are being forced to make tough choices, including postponing major surgeries due to a “critical blood shortage.”

WATCH: Blood shortage is reaching critical level – what you can do to help

Peter Beverly, 59, was finally due to receive a piece of his son’s liver last week. Taylorsville’s grandfather suffers from liver disease unrelated to alcohol.

“We take it day to day, some days are good, some days are bad,” said Peter Beverly.

The day before the operation, the doctors canceled the organ transplant. If something went wrong, there wouldn’t be enough blood.

“It’s just like, ‘Wow I can’t believe we’re at such a low level,’ said David Beverly, Peter’s son.

“I’ve really never seen a perfect storm like this before,” said Dr. Rob Ferguson, senior medical director of surgeries at Intermountain Health.

The blood shortage is forcing Intermountain Health to postpone many organ transplants and heart surgeries. At the University of Utah Health, they are on the verge of giving patients a different blood type, risking complications.

“It’s a life or death call where we are in a situation where we maybe don’t have the specific blood type for that person and we don’t have O blood anymore,” Dr. Ram Nirula, Head of the University’s General Surgery Division. of Utah Health.

Several factors play in the shortage of blood.

This summer, hospitals are reporting an increase in emergency trauma-related surgeries, as well as an increase in postponed procedures during the pandemic. Add to that only about half of the normal donors entering compared to a typical summer.

The American Red Cross in Utah prefers to have five days of blood. Right now they only have it for less than half a day.

As Peter’s transplant is postponed until the end of the month, the Beverly family is pleading for blood donation.

“We are not the only ones affected by this. We were told there were a lot of other people who had their surgery postponed, ”said David Beverly.

Those interested in donating blood can call ARUP at 801-584-5272, or CLICK HERE for more information. They can also get information from American Red Cross. Meetings are privileged.

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