Low Blood Donations Impact Supplies
The American Red Cross is urging the public to donate blood now and in the upcoming weeks to help rebuild blood supplies. Lower-than-expected blood donor turnout since the beginning of the year has resulted in overall inventories being extremely low, with blood types O negative and O positive at critical levels.
“Winter is historically a challenging time to meet collections goals,” stated John Hagins, CEO of the Greater Alleghenies Blood Services Region. “We had our first cancellations due to weather last Friday, further impacting an already low blood supply, and we expect there may be more to come. I am urging people in this area to make an immediate commitment to donate blood.” The blood services region needs more than 900 blood donors every day, but has seen far fewer than that this month.
“Since the beginning of January, we have had a lower-thanexpected donor turnout at the majority of our blood drives,” Hagins added. “We need to have enough people donating blood every day to help ensure we have enough blood and blood products on hand to supply hospitals with the blood they need to treat their patients.” Hagins stated that the region has only collected 58 percent of what they expected to this month, representing a shortfall of more than 3,000 donations.
Type O negative blood, the universal blood type, is always in high demand because it can be transfused to patients with any blood type, especially in emergency situations. Type O positive is the most common blood type.
How to donate blood
Call 1-800-RED CROSS or log on to www.redcrossblood.org for more information or to schedule a blood donation appointment. All blood types are needed to ensure the Red Cross maintains an adequate blood supply. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Donors must be in general good health, weigh at least 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old (16 with completed parental consent form). New height and weight restrictions apply to donors younger than 19. Visit redcrossblood.org to learn more.