Columbus, OH,
14:00 PM

10TV: Trauma Experts: High shooting rates in Columbus lowering blood supply

As of December 18, Columbus was six homicides away from the record high of 139. As the homicide rate in the city rises, the blood supply dwindles. The crisis is effecting the blood supply, not just for the shooting victims, but for everyone who needs emergency medical care.

OhioHealth Grant Medical Center is the busiest Level 1 Trauma Center in the state and one of the busiest in the country. The trauma staff at Grant see almost 6,000 admissions a year, and about eight percent of those are penetrating wounds, like gunshots or stabbings. But just about all of those trauma victims need blood.

“This is worse than we’ve seen it,” Shay O’Mara, MD, medical director of trauma services at Grant, told 10TV reporter Tracy Townsend.

Most of the blood donations from the American Red Cross come from school and university blood drives. The combination of students on winter break and the increasing gun-shot rates is creating a lower than normal blood supply.

“The stuff that we need upfront is the O negative and O positive blood,” Dr. O’Mara told Townsend. “That’s what you get when you show up to me and you are dying.”

Type O negative blood is one of the rarest blood types, but also is the most needed. It can be transfused to anyone regardless of their blood type. Type O positive blood can be transfused to anyone with an Rh-positive blood type, like A positive, B positive, AB positive and O positive.

He explained that trauma cases from 55 counties in Ohio can be sent to Grant. If someone has been shot or injured in a crash or fall, they are likely to end up in one of the newly renovated trauma bays at Grant.

Depending on the injury, a trauma patient may need 25 to 100 pints of blood. Dr. O’Mara urges people to donate blood through American Red Cross, which works with Grant to meet blood requests.

“If somebody comes in with a gunshot wound we can exceed 50 units of just red blood cells for one person,” says Dr. O’Mara.

To donate blood, find a nearby blood drive or schedule an appointment at or by calling l 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). You can also download a free Red Cross Blood Donor app to your smartphone.

To learn more about Grant’s Trauma program, please click here.