Skip to main content

Treating patients with blood diseases requires a strong blood supply; donations critically needed

Dec. 15, 2021, 10:01 AM

For patients with blood diseases like thalassemia and sickle cell anemia, blood is absolutely critical. 

“I give patients three to 10 units of red blood cells per transfusion for these diseases every single month, and these transfusions are lifesaving,” says Jennifer Andrews, MD, MSc, associate professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology (Division of Transfusion Medicine) and Pediatrics (Division of Hematology/Oncology) and medical director of the Blood Bank.

VUMC is experiencing severe shortages of O positive and O negative red blood cell units, which are expected to continue. To address this, the VUMC Blood Bank is auditing every order of O positive and O negative red blood cells for appropriateness and canceling or limiting orders that don’t meet VUMC guidelines, among other measures.

I can’t continue to care for my patients without blood. Please donate blood if you are healthy, and encourage your friends and family to do the same especially during the holiday season when blood donations across the U.S. are always very low,” Andrews says. 

The American Red Cross holds frequent blood drives on VUMC’s 21st Avenue and One Hundred Oaks campuses. Employees and members of the public are encouraged to donate. You can sign up for an upcoming Red Cross blood drive and donate at a time convenient with your schedule at

Recent Stories from VUMC News and Communications Publications

Vanderbilt Medicine
VUMC Voice