Blood shortage prompts call for donors
by Robert Joseph Baker | January 9, 2018 12:40 am
The American Red Cross has issued an urgent call for blood and platelet donors to help tackle a winter blood shortage.
“Severe winter weather has had a tremendous impact on blood donations already this year,” said American Red Cross Biomedical Field Marketing and Communications External Communications Manager Maya Franklin in a news release.”MOre than 150 blood drives (were) forced to cancel, causing more than 5,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. Donations are needed right now so that patients can continue to receive lifesaving treatments.”
January is National Blood Donor Month, but with winter storms and seasonal illnesses, such as the flu, the American Red Cross has received more than 28,000 fewer donations than what was needed in November and December.
In South Carolina, 21 blood drives were forced to cancel or close early due to last week’s winter storm, causing 625 donations to go uncollected.
“Even temporary disruptions to blood and platelet donations can diminish the availability for hospital patients,” said Clifford Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. “It’s the blood on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency, and that’s why we’re asking eligible individuals to make an appointment to give blood or platelets today.”
While serving local hospitals is the first priority, the Red Cross can move blood products towhere they’re needed most. This allows generous donors throughout the country to contribute to the national blood supply and potentially help patients locally and in storm-affected areas.
While all blood types are urgently needed, there is a more critical need for the following blood and donation types right now:
Platelets: The clotting portion of blood primarily given to cancer patients during
treatment and always in great demand.
Type O negative: The blood type that can be transfused to almost everyone and is
what doctors reach for in trauma situations.
Type B negative: The blood type that can be transfused to type B Rh-positive and
Type AB: The plasma type that can be transfused to almost everyone and can be
donated through a platelet or plasma donation, where available, or during a regular
Eligible donors can find a blood or platelet donation opportunity and schedule an appointment to donate by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1 (800) RED CROSS. Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass are
encouraged to help speed up the donation process. RapidPass lets donors complete the pre-donation reading and answer the health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, by visiting redcrossblood.org/rapidpass from the convenience of a mobile device or computer, or through the Blood Donor App.