The American Red Cross is facing a looming shortage of the blood types most needed by patients and is calling on eligible donors with O negative, B negative and A negative blood to give now to prevent an emergency situation.
Overall blood donations in the Red Cross Missouri-Illinois Blood Services Region have been approximately 3,000 fewer per month in June and July this year than the previous 10 months of the year. When demand for the most needed types begins to outpace donations, the Red Cross alerts donors to help restock the shelves.
Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to patients with any blood type. Types B negative and A negative can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients. Eligible donors are encouraged to donate double red cells — a process where two units of red cells are collected while most of the plasma and platelets are returned to the donor — where available.
“Summer blood shortages are not uncommon, but they can be prevented when generous volunteers roll up their sleeves to help save lives,” said Todd Wagner, donor recruitment director for the Red Cross Missouri-Illinois Region. “Many donors have already given this summer. We’re now asking donors who haven’t donated, and those who are eligible again, to make an appointment to give now to help ensure blood products are available for patients.”
Platelets and type AB plasma also needed
Platelet donors and those with type AB blood are also continually needed to help ensure patients receive the lifesaving blood products they need. Platelets – a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, surgical patients and bone narrow recipients – must be transfused within five days of donation, so donations are constantly needed. Donors with type AB blood are urged to give blood or platelets to restock the plasma supply. Type AB donors have the universal plasma type, which can be given to patients of all blood types.
Individuals who donated blood earlier this summer may be eligible to donate again and help patients like an expectant mother at a Red Cross-supported hospital who is currently receiving nearly 100 units of blood products a week until she delivers. Her need alone could add up to 1,100 units.
Upcoming Red Cross Blood Drives
Aug. 27: St. Rose School, 18004 St. Rose Road in rural Breese, 3 to 7 p.m.
Sept. 8: X-Factor Fitness, 67 Executive Drive in Highland, 1 to 5 p.m.; and St. Nicholas Church, 401 E. State St. in Pocahontas, 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 14: Aviston Elementary School, 350 S. Hull St. in Aviston, from 2 to 7 p.m.; and the Firemen and Legion Hall at Alhambra Township Park, 3 to 7 p.m.
Sept. 16: American Legion Hall, 575 N. Main St. in Breese, 1 to 6 p.m.
Sept. 21: Korte Recreation Center, 1 Nagel Drive in Highland, 3 to 7 p.m.
Blood donation appointments can be quickly and easily scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.