NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A nationwide blood bank shortage is affecting North Texas.

The need for blood is being called critical because at this point the supply is so low, if you donate today, it will likely be used tomorrow.

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Dr. P. Dayand Borge Jr. with the Red Cross said they can’t seem to recover from this shortage. “Despite everything that we’ve been doing to try and collect even more blood than we were planning, we’re just not really able to keep up,” Borge said.

For the past 16 months, the entire country has been dealing with this blood shortage that has only intensified.

Under normal circumstances, we’re told, blood centers rarely have more than a 2 to 3 day supply on the shelves. The pandemic knocked that down to one day. And the winter storms this past February cut it to a half day supply, when local blood banks went nearly seven days without receiving blood donations.

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Doctors are now asked to reevaluate elective surgeries, that require blood, and make decisions accordingly.

This blood shortage is described as something not seen in the last 30 years.

Linda Goelzer with Carter Bloodcare said, “As one hospital executive said to me, ‘This is the type of blood shortage that could crater the hospital caregiving system.’ It’s really bad and we want people to understand not in an alarmist way but to understand that this is some thing that has to happen every single day in our community. Hospitals cannot function without blood it is essential.”

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To make an appointment to donate blood, go to the Red Cross website or call 800-Red-Cross.