Nebraska man frustrated with blood donation restrictions

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – A nationwide blood shortage is a story we’ve been following for a few weeks now.

There is increased demand with hospitals starting to perform elective surgeries again. Some who want to donate are simply not able to.

It was only last week that Louis Pell was watching a report on 6 News when he heard this: “The American Red Cross is asking you to roll up your sleeves and donate, Nebraska only has one. three-day blood supply to offer to hospitals. “

Immediately he wanted to do his part.

“I saw there was this huge shortage and I just sit there thinking, I want to donate. I can donate, except I’m not allowed to donate, ”Pell said.

Twenty-six years ago, Pell and his family were based in London while in the military.

“I was there during that time that they had this, I think it’s called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease or mad cow disease,” Pell said.

According to Red Cross website, anyone who has been in the UK for more than three months between 1980 and 1996 is unable to donate blood due to possible exposure to CJD.

“I represent a family that was there and I have two adult daughters who were there, so they are not allowed to donate either. They’re 30, 30, so they’re pretty much in their prime and we always say, sorry you can’t donate, ”Pell said.

The list of requirements for donating blood is short but the list of restrictions is much longer. Moreover, it is not the Red Cross that makes these decisions.

“Most of the restrictions and eligibility requirements are actually set by the FDA, so we’re required to follow them like all other blood banks are required to follow,” said Josh Murray, regional communications director.

Currently, there is no test for CJD, so Pell and others like him have to keep hearing about the severe blood shortage without being able to help.

“It looks like at this point we should kind of say, ‘okay, maybe we need to revisit this,’ Pell said.

The Red Cross should ask the FDA to do so.

“There are certain times, certain cases where we kind of lobby the FDA to try to relax some restrictions, relax some eligibility requirements, not only when we’re in short supply, but also in general. “Murray said. .

With only a half-day of Type O blood supply across countries to hospitals, this is something Pell hopes they choose to do soon.

To see if you are eligible for make a donation, simply call the Red Cross at 1 (800) 733-2767 or visit their eligibility site.

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