Blood and Platelet Donations Needed Every Day to Respond to Patient Emergencies

January 10, 2012

Patient receives hundreds of transfusions during liver surgeries


Like the Emergency Room of a hospital, the American Red Cross must be prepared to respond to patient emergencies with blood products 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Through the everyday support and generosity of blood and platelet donors, the Red Cross can be prepared to do this day-in and day-out, no matter when or where these blood products are needed.

Brandon Riddle, 27, of Springfield, MO is only one example.  He had his first surgery to treat Biliary Atresia at 13 days old.  That surgery enabled him to grow and gain strength before he had his first liver transplant at 13 months.  He required two more surgeries within two weeks of the transplant which required numerous blood transfusions. 

“Outside of Brandon's ICU room  at Barnes Hospital in 2005 and 2006, were boxes and boxes from American Red Cross that held bag after bag of blood that was put into Brandon as quickly as he was bleeding it out.  Finally after many, many bags of blood and fresh frozen plasma, Brandon quit bleeding and survived those life-threatening bleeds and enjoyed several more years of good health until further complications arose”, says Brandon’s mother, Regina Riddle.

Brandon has suffered numerous complications during the last few years which required another new liver.  On December 29, 2011, Brandon received his second liver transplant which required 72 units of red cells, six units of plasma, and four platelets.  Unfortunately, Brandon had to receive a third liver transplant last week, Thursday, January 5 due to complications.  He only required 4 units of blood during that surgery.  Since the start of the second transplant on December 29, 2011, and over a 7 day period, Brandon has required over 150 red cells, 50 fresh frozen plasma, 15 platelets, and 80 cryo.  “He still has a long way to go and may require more blood products, but at this point, everything is looking good and Brandon should be able to recover and have many, many more healthy years ahead of him.  Over the course of Brandon's 27 years, he has probably received over 500 units of blood.  If not for all the donors who supplied the blood that Brandon has received, he would not be with us today.  Blood donations are so very important and Brandon's family is so appreciative of each and every donor who took the time to donate each and every bag of blood Brandon has received”, says Riddle.  In effort to support the blood supply, Brandon's friends, family, and community members in Springfield, MO, have hosted several blood drives so blood will be available for others. 

Each day, approximately 44,000 units of blood are needed for patients in the United States.  In fact, approximately every two seconds, someone in this country needs blood. All eligible donors are encouraged to become an Everyday supporter of the Red Cross and their communities by giving blood or platelets this winter. 


The American Red Cross is reporting lower donations than expected since the start of 2012.  O blood types are particularly low, but all blood types are needed. 

How to Donate Blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. 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.