The American Red Cross has issued an emergency request for blood and platelet donors of all blood types as many fewer donations than expected were received in June and the first week of July.
“The need for blood is constant, and we need more people to give now,” said Rodney Wilson, Communications Manager for the American Red Cross Central Ohio Blood Services Region. “Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. Each day donations come up short, less blood is available for these patients in need.”
Nationwide, donations through the Red Cross were down approximately 10 percent in June, resulting in about 50,000 fewer donations than expected. The shortfall is similar to what the Red Cross experienced in June 2012.
At the same time, recent patients have needed large amounts of blood at area hospitals. Over the July 4 holiday week, three major traumas caused three patients to need a total of 212 blood products. Another surgery patient needed 78 blood products the same week.
Summer is one of the most challenging periods of the year for blood and platelet donations as regular donors delay giving while they adjust to summer schedules. High school and college blood drives account for as much as 20 percent of Red Cross donations during the school year. Donations from those who usually give at these drives drop by more than 80 percent when school is out for the summer. In addition, a mid-week Independence Day holiday reduced the number of blood drives scheduled in early July. Many sponsors, especially business, were unable to host drives because employees took extended vacations.
The Red Cross urgently needs donations to ensure an adequate blood supply is available for patients all summer long. Each day, the Central Ohio Red Cross needs approximately 800 donors to step forward and give blood. Eligible donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood are especially encouraged to give. Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to anyone who needs blood. Types A negative and B negative can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients.
To find a blood drive near you, contact the Red Cross at redcrossblood.org or 1-800-RED Cross.