Red Cross blood supply at critically low levels

Don’t blame the vampires! They aren’t drinking anymore than usual. Despite that, the American Red Cross today is appealing to blood donors, old and new, asking them to roll up their sleeves and address a critical shortage of blood across the nation.

“This has been an especially busy year for the Red Cross, as we’ve given help and hope to people affected by deadly tornadoes, floods, wildfires and other storms,” said Shawn Gilmore, President, Red Cross Biomedical Services. “But there’s another kind of Disaster that can happen to any of us at anytime if we need blood and it’s not available.”

The statistics are frightening.

Every two (2) seconds, someone in the United states needs a blood transfusion.

The Red Cross has responded to more than 40 major disaster across more than 30 states, just over the past three months.

Donations have dropped dramatically. In fact, donations during May and June reached the lowest level seen by the Red Cross in a dozen years during the same period. Demand for blood products, however, has remained steady.

Put bluntly, the American Red Cross needs blood donors now more than ever. All types are needed but especially O negative, sometime called the universal donor because it can be used to treat any patient.

To donate blood, individuals must be 17 years old or older (in some states 16-year-olds can donate with parental permission), meet height and weight requirements (over 110 lbs. depending on height) and be generally in good health. Donors will also need to bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when they go to donate. Visit the American Red Cross website to find a blood drive or blood bank location near you where you can donate.

HINT: If you are attending International Comic-Con 2011 in San Diego next week, please make time to participate in Comic-Con’s Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive. In 1977, the inaugural year for the Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive and which Heinlein himself attended, 148 pints of blood were collected. Last year, 1,067 pints were collected helping to save more than 2,000 lives.  In addition, donors get a goodie grab bag and are entered in daily drawing for fantastic prizes donated by Comic-Con exhibitors. Oh! and this year, HBO’s True Blood will be providing t-shirts, bandages and water for Blood Drive participants.

Donation only takes about 45 minutes.

“If you’re looking for something to sink your teeth into, then please consider making an appointment to give blood as soon as possible,” Stephanie Millian, Director of Biomedical Communications for the American Red Cross said. “Vampires may not need your blood, but local hospital patients do.”

Tagged with: