ST. LOUIS — The violence in St. Louis is impacting more than just families and neighborhoods.  A local blood supplier said it’s running extremely short, and violence may be partially to blame.

St. Louis University Hospital is one of a few level-one trauma centers in our area, which means it can handle things like gunshot wounds and extreme injuries.

An emergency room doctor said they need all types of blood right now, but particularly Type O, because it makes a difference when you only have seconds rather than minutes.

Dr. Matt Pieper, an ER physician at SLU Hospital, said he sees a shooting victim once a day during the summer, but that’s usually the minimum.

“Definitely seen a lot more violence cases, a lot more gunshots than I have seen in the last 5 years that I’ve been here,” he said.

And when dealing with injuries like gunshot wounds, there might not be time for a blood test. In those cases, doctors must use Type-O blood because it can be used across all blood types.

That could be a major reason why blood banks like the Mississippi Valley Blood Center have sounded the alarm about needing blood donations, specifically Type O.

Dr. Pieper said hospitals like SLU get priority when it comes to their blood supply, so he hasn’t felt the squeeze of the shortage yet, but smaller regional hospitals are often the first to be forced to reduce their use.

Both the Mississippi Valley Blood Center and the American Red Cross say they are in desperate need of blood donations of all types, which is normal for the summer months.

If you would like to help, you can find a donation location on the American Red Cross website or

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