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Donors needed to ease national blood shortage

Few of those eligible to donate do so

March 08, 2024
uci health transfusion medicine expert dr. minh-ha tran wearing a white lab coat and tie standing in front of the uci health blood bank
UCI Health transfusion medicine expert Dr. Minh-Ha Tran says that
the number of blood donors has declined since the early 1990s.

IN THE NEWS: Blood supplies in the United States are at a record 20-year low, according to the Red Cross, citing a shortage of donors. Only 3% of people who are eligible to donate actually do so.

SpectrumlogoAt UCI Health, Orange County’s only Level 1 Trauma Center, 1,000 units of blood are transfused to patients every month. The UCI Health Blood Donor Center needs at least 1,000 donations to meet the demand.

Dr. Minh-Ha Tran, the medical director of transfusion medicine at UCI Health, tells Spectrum News that the number of volunteers has declined sharply over the years.

"If you look at figures from the National Blood Collection and Utilization Surveys, in 1992 the rate of donation was around 88 per 1,000 people. In the last few years, it’s been down in the range of around 55 per 1,000 people who could donate." 

Tran is a professor of pathology and internal medicine at the UCI School of Medicine. He is a fellow of the American Society of Clinical Pathology.

Tran specializes in blood banking and transfusion medicine and is the author or co-author of several studies published in prominent journals. He has been named a physician of excellence by the Orange County Medical Association every year since 2017.

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