Blood donations needed in wake of mass shooting in Louisville

Published 10:24 am Wednesday, April 12, 2023

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Kentucky Lantern

While treating Louisville’s mass shooting victims, UofL Health staff used 170 units of blood, chief medical officer Dr. Jason Smith said Tuesday.

That comes out to more than 80 donations.

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The blood needed “far outstrips our hospital capacity,” Smith said at an 11:30 media briefing at Louisville Metro Hall.

Kentucky’s chapter of the American Red Cross came to the rescue.

“Their ability to get us that blood,” Smith said, “helped save lives.”

Now, the city needs people in the community to donate more.

O Negative is the go-to blood type and most in demand right now, according to Kentucky Red Cross Chief Executive Officer Steve Cunanan.

“That is what the emergency room personnel use and what they reach for when…they don’t have time to determine a blood type,” Cunanan said.

Three still hospitalized

Johns Hopkins reported in 208 that people who are shot need 10 times more blood during transfusions than people injured other ways – like car wrecks or stabbings.

UofL Health still has three people hospitalized from the event at Old National Bank that left five dead plus the shooter, whom police say they killed.

The hospital system reported Tuesday afternoon that a fifth patient was discharged. One person who went to the hospital has died.

Two of the hospitalized patients are stable and in fair condition, UofL said. One, Louisville Metro Police Officer Nikolas Wilt, is in critical condition.

The recently sworn-in officer was working his fourth shift when Monday’s shooting happened. He was shot in the head as he “ran towards the gunfire,” LMPD said.

Caring for multiple shooting victims “is not an infrequent day for us” for Smith and his team, he said. “The events surrounding this made this obviously much more difficult. But to be honest with you, we barely had to adjust our operating room schedule to be able to do this. That’s how frequently we are having to deal with gun violence in our community.”

Already in 2023, Mayor Craig Greenberg said, 40 people have been shot to death in Kentucky’s largest city.

How to donate blood

“There are always other patients,” Smith said. “Donating blood now helps us in the future. The lives that were saved yesterday were because of the American Red Cross and the blood they had on the shelves.”

Follow these links to make an appointment to give blood near your ZIP code: