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Trauma Experts: High shooting rates in Columbus lowering blood supply

Experts in treating trauma worry there will not be enough blood to treat people who come in for emergency or trauma care in the wake of the near record homicide rate in Columbus.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Trauma experts at the state’s busiest adult level one trauma center are worried about what's being described as a startling shortage of blood.

Grant Medical Center Trauma Director Dr. Shay O'Mara said that as they watch the city’s escalating homicide rate, they are especially concerned for shooting survivors, “If somebody comes in with a gunshot wound we can exceed 50 units of just red blood cells for one person.”

There are close to 6,000 trauma admissions a year at Grant Medical Center. Eight percent of that number are related to gunshots.

Dr. O’Mara said there is a great need for the rarest blood types: O-positive and O-negative. The American Red Cross indicates Type O negative blood can be transfused to anyone, regardless of their blood type. Type O positive blood can be transfused to anyone with an Rh-positive blood type, like A positive, B positive, AB positive and O positive.

Medical experts are urging the public to donate blood through The American Red Cross, which works to meet hospital requests for blood.

A spokesperson for the Red Cross said in a statement that traumatic injuries – which include patients injured in car crashes, shootings and various accidents – often can require large amounts of blood to treat.

One trauma patient may need between 25 and 100 pints of blood depending on their injuries.

The Red Cross indicates people can find a nearby blood drive or schedule a donation appointment at redcrossblood.org or by calling l 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

There is also a free Red Cross Blood Donor App to download to your smartphone.

It allows users to search for drives and schedule appointments and sends alerts about the hospital to which your donation is shipped.