American Red Cross National Blood Supply Remains at Seriously Low Levels
All eligible blood donors asked to make and keep appointments
American Red Cross blood supplies remain at seriously low levels even after thousands of area residents responded to the national appeal for blood donors, which began on July 11. Blood products are going out to area hospitals just as quickly as donations are coming in, according to the Red Cross.
In addition, the massive heat wave encompassing much of the country is hurting blood collections at a time when the Red Cross has been working to rebuild its inventories to adequate levels. The triple-digit temperatures have made it extremely difficult to recruit sufficient numbers of donors to go out and give blood. Furthermore, heat-related issues have forced the Red Cross to cancel blood drives or close them early, resulting in the cancellation of hundreds of scheduled blood donations.
“The Red Cross is grateful to everyone who has come forward to give blood in response to this appeal, but we still need donors to make appointments in the coming days and weeks to help us ensure that all patient blood needs can be met,” said Geoff Kaufmann, CEO of the American Red Cross North Central Blood Services Region, serving Minnesota, western Wisconsin and eastern South Dakota.
“We carefully monitor blood supplies, sometimes on an hourly basis, in the hope that there will never be a point where surgeries need to be cancelled,” Kaufmann added. “However, there is always the chance that a physician could opt to postpone elective surgery when the blood supply dips too low, or in a worst case scenario, have to forego a procedure such as a lifesaving organ transplant because of a shortage of blood.”
When Alisha Jackelen, Rosemount, Minn., went into premature labor with twins her life changed quickly. After the twins were delivered by cesarean section, her son Nicholas was whisked away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. On day 6 in the hospital it was determined that Nicholas needed a blood transfusion or he may not live. That night Nicholas received the equivalent of approximately five teaspoons of blood, which doubled the blood volume in his little body. “I cannot thank the person whose donated blood gave my son his life enough,” said Alisha. “Blood donors are truly a gift for patients!”
Nicholas’ story highlights just how important each and every blood donation can be. Because of that, the Red Cross is extending blood drive hours and reaching out to eligible blood donors, sponsors and community leaders to ask them to recruit blood donors to help meet the needs of patients in communities across the United States.
The Red Cross needs blood donors – now more than ever – to roll up a sleeve and give as soon as possible. All blood types are needed, but especially O negative, B negative and A negative. 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.
About the American Red Cross
Governed by volunteers and supported by giving individuals and communities, the American Red Cross is the single largest supplier of blood products to hospitals throughout the United States. While local hospital needs are always met first, the Red Cross also helps ensure no patient goes without blood no matter where or when they need it. In addition to providing nearly half of the nation’s blood supply, the Red Cross provides relief to victims of disaster, trains millions in lifesaving skills, serves as a communication link between U.S. military members and their families, and assists victims of international disasters or conflicts.