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Severe Blood Shortage: Trauma Survivor’s Story Highlights Serious Need for Blood Products

Beth Hudson knows just how crucial blood products can be after a trauma. She credits the 64 units of blood, platelets and plasma she received – and the generous donors who gave them – with helping her fight the odds.

Four years ago this month – on June 29, 2017 – Beth and her husband, Jay, were on motorcycles returning from a weekend getaway. About a half mile from their house, Jay took a shortcut to open the garage for his wife. Beth, a new rider, never made it home.

“My husband heard the sirens, realized that I wasn’t home, put two and two together,” said Beth. “He jumped in the car, drove down and came upon the accident – and me. That was very difficult for him.”

Beth had collided head-on with an SUV. The impact was devastating. Her wounds were serious; she was struggling to breathe; and she had lost a lot of blood.

The mother of two was flown to the hospital. There, doctors struggled to control internal bleeding, and Beth was given blood, platelet and plasma transfusions. After her first surgery, doctors gave her a 5-10% chance at living. Beth fought those odds.

She spent two months in intensive care, the first month in a semi-coma. Beth underwent 33 surgeries, had one of her legs amputated below the knee and received 64 units of blood.

“If one less person hadn’t given me those 64 units of blood, I might not be here,” she said.

It’s now been four years since her accident – and a few years since the amputation. Beth had to give up teaching – a career she loved for more than 36 years, but she’s staying active. Beth has a prosthetic that allows her to hike, bike, swim and sit-ski. She also works with other amputees and volunteers for the American Red Cross.

Prior to the accident, Beth was a regular blood donor. She hosted her first blood drive in May and now vows to make it an annual event. She wants to replace the blood she used and ensure hospital shelves are stocked for the next trauma victim.

 Severe blood shortage

Beth’s story is a real example of the large quantity of blood products patients can need in a trauma situation. And your help is needed now to ensure hospital shelves are stocked and ready for patient emergencies.

Currently, the American Red Cross is experiencing a severe blood shortage as the number of trauma cases, organ transplants and elective surgeries rise – and deplete the nation’s blood inventory. Over the last three months, the Red Cross has distributed about 75,000 blood products more than expected to meet these needs, significantly decreasing our national blood supply.

The Red Cross is working around the clock to meet the extraordinary blood needs of hospitals and patients, but we can’t do it alone. We need you! All blood types are needed, particularly type O, as well as platelets, to help ensure patients get the care they need.

Please schedule an appointment to give blood or platelets as soon as possible. You can make an appointment by using the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).