2008-11-13 / Local & State

Red Cross Blood Services Says Supply Of Blood Types Low

Inventories of Type O negative, universal blood type, below a day's supply

When planning blood collections for their current fiscal year that began on July 1, officials of the Greater Alleghenies Region of American Red Cross Blood Services state they anticipated a 5 percent growth in blood usage for patient care at the 97 hospitals the 100-county blood region serves.

However, according to Jim Starr, CEO, "Patient usage is outpacing our collections growth. Despite achieving 101 percent of year-todate annual collections goal, regional supplies of O positive, O negative, A negative and B negative blood types remain at just a 1 ½ - day supply.

"Meeting blood collection targets aren't enough. We need to do more because area patients and their families are counting on us."

Starr urges local residents to give blood as November begins a period when blood collections historically decrease as people begin to get busy with winter holiday preparations.

"Hundreds of people each day continue to need life-sustaining blood transfusions, even while others are beginning to prepare for holiday celebrations," he stated. "Every two seconds, someone in our country needs a blood transfusion.

"The Red Cross must continue to collect enough blood each day in order to supply area hospital blood banks. Trauma cases, planned and emergency surgeries, and cancer treatments do not stop during this time, and all can require blood transfusions as part of those patients' medical care."

To donate blood, individuals:

Must be at least 17 years old (in Kentucky, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, 16-year-olds may donate blood with parental consent)

Weigh at least 110 pounds

Be in generally good health

Many individuals taking medication for chronic conditions may continue to donate blood. Those with specific eligibility questions should call 1-800-542-5663 and ask to speak to someone in Nursing Collections.

Donation appointments may be scheduled at many Red Cross blood drives. To schedule your blood donation appointment where available, or to find a blood drive near you, visit www.redcrosslife.org or call 1-800-GIVE LIFE (1-800-448-3543).

Local residents and patients are among those served through American Red Cross Blood Services, Greater Alleghenies Region. This region directly serves hospitals, patients and donors in a 100-county area in Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, and also supports blood needs experienced by patients elsewhere in hospitals served through Red Cross Blood Services.

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