Cold Snap, Holidays Deplete Some First Coast Hospitals’ Blood Supply

Jan 4, 2018

Following the holidays and a snap of unusually cold weather, some Northeast Florida hospitals are dealing with dangerously-low blood supplies.

At least four major hospitals in Jacksonville are making urgent pleas for donations.

Outside the Home Depot on Jacksonville’s Southside Thursday, volunteers tried to coax cold customers into a mobile donation center, along with LifeSouth Community Blood Centers’ Karen Patterson.

“We’re in emergency need for blood in our local hospitals. Emergency need means we have less than a day’s supply on the shelves,” she said.

Patterson said it’s not unusual to see a dip in donations around the holidays because people are busy and college students have left for winter break. But she thinks this year is particularly bad because of the weather.

A full list of upcoming LifeSouth drives:

“When it’s cold, people don't want to leave their houses and when they’re at work, they don't really want to go outside,” she said.

Patterson said Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital, Baptist Health, Orange Park Medical Center and Memorial Hospital need all types of blood, especially O-negative.

The nonprofit Gainesville-based LifeSouth Community Blood Centers only recently moved into the Jacksonville area and currently has a single mobile unit to collect donations. Patterson says LifeSouth is expected to open a free-standing collection center this spring.

Reporter Ryan Benk can be reached at, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter @RyanMichaelBenk