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Emergency blood shortage: Red Cross issues urgent call for blood donors following holiday week

Posted at 7:29 AM, Jul 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-09 15:03:02-04

MILWAUKEE – The American Red Cross says it is facing an emergency blood shortage and is prompting an urgent call for eligible donors of all blood types – especially type O – to donate.

The Red Cross has escalated its call for blood and platelet donors after a difficult Independence Day week for donations. 

The Red Cross says more than 550 fewer blood drives were organized by businesses and other community groups last week than during a typical week as individuals across the country celebrated the holiday and enjoyed summer activities. This could equate to as many as 15,000 fewer donations than needed, causing donations to now be distributed to hospitals faster than they come in.

“Each and every day, individuals across the country depend on blood and platelet donations for lifesaving treatments and emergency care, so it’s critical that people donate now to meet these needs,” said Laura McGuire, external communications, Red Cross Blood Services in a news release. “Whether you’ve never donated or give a couple of times a year, you’re needed to give as soon as possible to help save patient lives. Yours may be the donation a patient is counting on.”

The blood need is especially critical for type O blood donors, the Red Cross said. Type O is the most in-demand blood type and often the first be depleted from hospital shelves during a shortage. Type O negative is the universal blood type and what emergency room personnel reach for when there is no time to determine the blood type of patients in the most serious situations. Type O positive is the most common blood type and can be transfused to Rh-positive patients of any blood type.

To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). The Red Cross has added about 6,500 additional appointment slots at donation centers and community blood drives across the country over the next few weeks to accommodate more donors. For a list of blood donation locations, click here.

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