Less than 30 percent of the blood needed to support Carilion Clinic’s hospitals comes from local donors.
“Roanoke and surrounding communities are not meeting Carilion Clinic’s blood needs,” said Marly Fausz, a spokeswoman for Virginia Blood Services.
In October, Carilion began getting its blood supplies from the Richmond-based nonprofit VBS. Previously Carilion had a contract for blood products with the American Red Cross.
Since the fall, VBS has been holding blood drives in Roanoke and the surrounding communities, but has attracted few donors. Instead, donors from elsewhere in Virginia are helping to meet the needs in the Roanoke and New River valleys, Fausz said.
Of the 15,000 blood products Carilion needs to treat patients annually, only 3,000 have come from local donors during the first nine months, Fausz said.
It’s a problem specific to the region, she said, noting that statewide donations are up 5 percent from a year ago. That’s counter to what the Red Cross is reporting, saying that its donations have dipped to unexpected lows.