American Red Cross issues appeal: Need for blood critical
by Sherrie Norris
Summer blood shortages are common due to injuries related to increased travel and outdoor activity. This year, however, the rise in natural disasters and the fall of donors has resulted in a serious situation.
According to Revonda Wood, Red Cross regional donor recruitment representative, a national blood appeal was issued earlier this week.
The impact of the severe storms in the Midwest and middle Atlantic areas may have severely affected the ability to restore the blood inventory to sufficient levels in many locations, Wood said.
Power outages, fallen trees and other storm-related problems have forced the cancellation of numerous blood drives across the country and have prevented donors from reaching blood donation centers.
“The Red Cross is calling on all eligible blood donors — now more than ever — to roll up a sleeve and give as soon as possible,” Wood said. “We need all blood types, but especially O-positive, O-negative, B-negative and A-negative.”
To make matters worse, she said, “The week of the Fourth is a time when families are on vacation, schools are closed and many companies do not host blood drives because their employees are on extended leave. Unfortunately, patients don't get a holiday from needing blood products.”
Thousands of blood donations are needed each day to meet the needs of hospital patients. Blood and platelets are needed for 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.
“Every day, the Carolinas Blood Services Region must collect approximately 1,600 pints for patients at more than 100 hospitals and transfusion centers across the region,” said Delisa English, chief executive officer of the regional office. “We need donors to make appointments in the coming days and weeks to help us ensure that all patient blood needs can be met. Each pint of whole blood can help save more than one life.”
“The American Red Cross continues to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week to best meet the needs of hospital patients,” English said. “We are closely monitoring inventory levels at all distribution sites and working with hospitals to triage and transfer products as needed to ensure patient needs are met.”