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Chicago’s Blood Banks Get Desperate For Donations

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FILE - In this Dec. 20, 2011 file photo, donors give blood at a drive attempting to set a record for most single-day donations in Rutland, Vt. Federal health officials are lifting the nation’s 32-year-old lifetime ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, but major restrictions will continue to limit who can donate.

Toby Talbot/AP, file

Chicago’s blood supply is critically low, according to the American Red Cross, Heartland Blood Centers and LifeSource. Donations usually dip going into the summer, coinciding with the end of the school year and potential donors going on vacation, but local blood bank officials say the shortage this summer is the worst they’ve seen in years, and there isn’t an explanation. This is particularly troubling as donated blood helps treat victims of the city’s violence. 

Morning Shift talks to Matt Pitcher, donor recruitment manager for the American Red Cross of Chicago and Northern Illinois, about how Chicago’s low blood supply is affecting the city’s hospitals.

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