The Red Cross is calling on all eligible blood donors to give as soon as possible, as the American Red Cross blood supply has reached emergency levels with 50,000 fewer donations than expected in June.
This shortfall leaves the Red Cross with half the readily available blood products on hand now than this time last year. All blood types are needed, but especially O positive, O negative, B negative and A negative in order to meet patient demand this summer.
An unseasonably early start to spring may be a contributing factor to this year’s decrease in donations, the Red Cross has stated. An early start on summer activities and this year’s mid-week Independence Day holiday has reduced the number of scheduled Red Cross blood drives may be some of the causes, the organization has said.
Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion. Blood and platelets are needed for many different reasons, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, premature babies – when there are complications during childbirth – and for patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.
“We need donors to make appointments in the coming days and weeks to help us ensure that all patient blood needs can be met,” said Jeff Meyer, CEO of the American Red Cross Northern California Blood Services Region, in a statement. “There is always the chance that a physician could postpone an elective surgery if the needed blood products aren’t readily available or, in a worst case scenario, have to forego a more serious procedure because of a shortage of blood. Our goal is to ensure that doesn’t happen."
Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.