The American Red Cross has issued an emergency call for blood and platelet donors after the winter holidays created a donation shortfall.
The Red Cross collected around 27,000 few blood and platelet donations the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s than needed to sustain a sufficient blood supply.
Additionally, volunteer sponsor groups hosted 1,350 fewer blood drives than required to meet patient needs as busy holiday schedules kept many donors away.
Red Cross officials now say it has reached emergency status.
“Many people may not realize that blood products are perishable, and the only source of lifesaving blood for patients is volunteer blood donors,” said Rodney Wilson, communications manager for the Red Cross Indiana Ohio Blood Services Region. “When donations decline, lifesaving medical treatments could be delayed, especially if winter weather and flu season further complicate the situation.”
Currently, the Red Cross has less than a three-day supply of most blood types on hand. That’s well below the ideal, five-day supply needed to respond to emergencies and daily hospital needs.
“We hope people can resolve to save lives now – when there is an emergency need – as well as throughout the year,” added Wilson.
The Red Cross asks all eligible donors, especially those with type O blood, to make an appointment to give in the coming days to help resolve the shortage.
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 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Volunteer blood drive hosts are also critically needed to prevent the shortage from worsening this winter.