BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Patients in Birmingham have already felt the impacts of the national blood crisis in hospitals.

The American Red Cross issued the first-ever national blood crisis Tuesday, citing the worst blood shortage in more than a decade.

It means uncertainty for trauma victims and patients battling cancer or other illnesses where blood is needed.

“Blood supply is having to be prioritized. So this means a delay in some surgical procedures. It means some treatments are being delayed. That might be a cancer treatment at a local hospital being delayed a few days, which in the life of a cancer patient is a critical issue,” said David Goodwin, the Regional Philanthropy Officer of the Birmingham Red Cross.

He told CBS 42 it’s a difficult choice doctors in Birmingham have already had to make.

“I do know that locally we have had to delay some medical procedures for people because either we did not have their blood type available, or we didn’t have O negative that they could use. And that’s cancer treatments, it’s elective surgeries, it’s all those things,” Goodwin said.

According to the Red Cross, since the start of the pandemic, the Red Cross has seen a 10% decline in blood donations.

Goodwin added the number of accidents and shootings recently in Birmingham has made the blood shortage here even worse.

“Unfortunately, from seeing your own broadcast we’re also off to a really bad start with accidents and several shootings and those place a huge burden on the blood supply,” he said.

The Red Cross is urging anyone who can to donate blood and help save lives. You can make an appointment to give blood or platelets as soon as possible by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)