Government Shutdown Causes Blood Shortages In Washington, DC


Effects of the government shutdown are showing up in unlikely places. Inova Health System in Washington, DC, announced this week that it is urgently seeking blood donations, since the shutdown caused the cancellation of four blood drives at federal office buildings in the area. The drives were expected to collect “300 units of blood, blood that’s already been accounted for by planners at 24 area hospitals,” according to WTOP.

Blood shortages force hospitals to selectively administer blood to patients.

This is just one of the many health effects of the shutdown, which also include a potential shortage of flu vaccinations and a stoppage on admitting any new patients to the National Institutes of Health.


The Red Cross told ThinkProgress that about three percent of all their donations come from drives sponsored by military and government agencies. This October specifically, approximately 260 Red Cross blood drives are scheduled at military and government offices, and more than 9,000 donors are signed up for those events. Now, the organization may need to make other plans. “All eligible blood donors, including those who typically give at a federal government facility, are encouraged to make an appointment at another Red Cross location in their area,” a Red Cross spokesperson noted.

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