Red Cross issues urgent call for blood, platelet donations

Red Cross issues urgent call for blood, platelet

CARLINVILLE (Jan. 11, 2018) – January is National Blood Donor Month, and the American Red Cross has an urgent need for blood and platelet donors of all blood types to make an appointment to give blood and help address a winter blood donation shortage.

Severe weather has had a significant impact on blood donations already this year, with more than 150 blood drives being forced to cancel, causing more than 5,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. This is in addition to seasonal illnesses, such as the flu, and hectic holiday schedules collectively contributing to more than 28,000 fewer donations than what was needed in November and December.

“Even temporary disruptions to blood and platelet donations can diminish the availability for hospital patients,” said Joe Zydlo, external communications manager for Missouri-Illinois Red Cross Blood Services Region. “It’s the blood on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency, and that’s why we’re asking eligible individuals to make an appointment to give blood or platelets today.”

While serving local hospitals is the first priority, the Red Cross can move blood products to where they’re needed most, which allows donors throughout the country to contribute to the national blood supply and potentially help patients locally and in storm-affected areas. While all blood types are urgently needed, there is a more critical need for the following blood and donation types right now: platelets (the clotting portion of blood primarily given to cancer patients during treatment and always in great demand); type O negative (which can be transfused to almost everyone and is what doctors reach for in trauma situations); type B negative (which can be transfused to type B Rh-positive and negative patients); and type AB (the plasma type that can be transfused to almost everyone and can be donated through a platelet or plasma donation, where available, or during a regular blood donation).

Eligible donors can find a blood or platelet donation opportunity and schedule an appointment to donate by using the free Blood Donor app, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling (800) 733-2767.