American Red Cross calling for donations amid severe nationwide blood shortage


(WWTI) — The American Red Cross is urging people to give blood nationwide to address a severe blood shortage. The organization says the shortage owes to a rise in trauma cases, organ transplants, and elective surgeries requiring “blood products.”

Visit the American Red Cross website to find blood drives near you. They’re offering an incentive giving those who come to donate at one of their facilities in June a $5 Amazon gift card.

Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states—or 16 with written consent from a parent or legal guardian—weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.

“The Red Cross is currently experiencing a severe blood shortage,” said Red Cross Biomedical Services President Chris Hrouda. “Our teams are working around the clock to meet the extraordinary blood needs of hospitals and patients—distributing about 75,000 more blood products than expected over the past three months to meet demand—but we can’t do it without donors. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.”

The organization stated that the rise in the number of trauma cases and emergency room visits is atypical, with a red cell demand from hospitals with trauma centers climbing by 10% in 2021 compared to 2019.

The Red Cross also reported a great demand for blood at hospitals, as patients who previously deferred care during the COVID-19 pandemic now present with more advanced disease progression. This generally increased demand for blood transfusions.

To address these needs, the Red Cross stated that there is an “emergency need” for type O donors. Type O positive is the most transfused blood type and can be transfused to Rh-positive patients of any blood type. Type O negative, the universal blood type, is and what emergency room personnel reach for when there’s no time to determine a patient’s blood type in the most serious situations.

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