Red Cross, nation’s blood banks facing blood shortage
Published 10:06 am Monday, August 15, 2016
The American Red Cross has issued an emergency request for blood and platelet donations.
According to Red Cross officials, there is a significant shortage of blood for hospital patients.
Right now, the Red Cross has less than a five-day supply of blood on hand. At least a five-day supply is needed to meet the needs of hospital patients and be prepared for any emergencies that might require lots of donated blood products.
The American Red Cross provides blood to approximately 2,600 hospitals nationwide, including more than 60 hospitals throughout the Alabama and Central Gulf Coast Blood Services Region.
“It’s the blood products on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency,” said Mario Sedlock, director of donor recruitment of the Red Cross Alabama and Central Gulf Coast Blood Services Region. “When seconds matter, having a readily available blood supply is critical to trauma patient care.
“Type O-negative donors are an important part of the Red Cross trauma team. While all blood types are needed, type O-negative donations are necessary in emergency situations when there is no time to determine a patient’s blood type. Because there is such a high demand for type O-negative blood, O-negative donors are needed to donate often.”
With the nation’s blood supply facing significantly low inventory levels, the American Association of Blood Banks and America’s Blood Centers have joined in issuing a critical appeal for blood and platelet donors across the country.
“Maintaining a safe and adequate blood supply is critical to the nation’s public health and a priority for the medical community,” said Miriam A. Markowitz, CEO of AABB. “Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. It is indispensable and required in the treatment of millions of patients, including individuals with cancer and other life-threatening diseases, patients undergoing organ transplants and trauma victims.”
Summer is always a challenging time for blood centers to ensure an adequate blood supply due to donors taking vacations and schools being out of session.
Despite the season, the need for blood remains constant and patients continue to depend on the generosity of blood donors to meet that need. All blood types are needed.
It is the blood that has already been collected, screened and tested that is used during an emergency.
To give blood one must be in good health, 17 years or older (or 16 with parental permission), weigh at least 110 pounds and show a valid photo I.D.
Blood donations can be made to the Red Cross by scheduling an appointment by visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).