Future Local Blood Donations May Be Needed For Las Vegas Shooting Victims

Oct 9, 2017

It’s been more than a week since the mass shooting in Las Vegas, but northern Illinois blood banks say local donations still may be needed in the weeks to come.

Credit Flickr user Charleston's TheDigitel / "Red Cross blood drive" (CC V. 2.0)

Many survivors still need surgeries after the attack, and blood donations have only a 42-day shelf life.

Some blood centers in northern Illinois have shipped donations before to areas in need, as they did after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. They say they’re on standby to ship blood to Las Vegas.

Camille Piazza, with Heartland Community Blood Centers, says gunshots in particular result in an exceptional blood-loss rate.

“Look at how quickly one tragedy has gotten an entire community and a nation to stop in our tracks,” Piazza said, “and think about, ‘If something like this happened in our town, in our city, in our neighborhood, did I donate? Have I put blood on that shelf?'”

Jen Bowman, with Rock River Valley Blood Centers, remembers Rockford residents waiting in lines circling around the block to donate blood after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks – like the way Las Vegas residents responded to the mass shooting last week.

Bowman says blood donations are more effective if shelves are regularly stocked to begin with.

“It seems more glamorous to do a blood donation in reaction to something,” Bowman said, "but the way that the blood supply needs to work is that the blood has to be there ahead of time."

Bowman says only about a quarter of blood donors giving in times of tragedy return to give more.