American Red Cross Urgently Needs Blood Donors
WASHINGTON, Tuesday, July 05, 2005 — There is currently a critical blood shortage. The American Red Cross is issuing an urgent national appeal for blood donations. National blood inventory levels have dropped well below a safe and adequate supply. In order to meet the needs of hospital patients across the nation, the American Red Cross strongly urges anyone who is eligible to give blood to call 1-800 GIVE-LIFE as soon as possible to schedule an appointment to donate.
Every day, blood is needed in hospitals and emergency treatment facilities for patients with cancer and other diseases, for organ transplant recipients, and to help save the lives of accident victims. Without more blood on the shelves, the Red Cross cannot ensure that hospitals will have the blood they need to treat all patients.
“Right now, patients in hospitals across the country need you to roll up your sleeve and give the gift of lifesaving blood.” said Dr. Jerry Squires, Chief Medical Officer, American Red Cross Biomedical Services. “Blood must be available at a moment’s notice to help patients in need. We have reached an emergency situation and the blood will not be there without the immediate response of generous, volunteer blood donors like you.”
Blood donations decline in the summer due to vacations, holidays, and everyone’s busy lifestyle in the warm months. The blood shortages are also caused by the absence of high school blood drives and fewer students at college blood drives. “During the school year, those drives supply anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of the overall blood supply,” said Squires. “When schools are closed and college campuses are practically deserted, those blood donations go away, too.”
Unfortunately, injuries don’t decrease in the summer. On average, emergency rooms use between four and forty units of blood to treat one car accident victim. Right now, American Red Cross blood inventory levels across the country are so low that patient care may soon be compromised. Since Memorial Day, blood collections have steadily decreased and national supplies have reached a critical low point, with some areas of the country falling below a one-day supply of blood. Many areas of the country are already on local emergency appeals.
The Red Cross is appealing to all eligible people to donate blood now and is particularly interested in collecting Type O, Type A-negative and Type B-negative, the blood types currently suffering the greatest shortage.
Individuals are asked to support their local blood centers by making and keeping an appointment to donate immediately. Cyclical blood shortages can put lives in jeopardy. We each have a responsibility to contribute to the blood supply… life is too precious. We need you to join the American Red Cross as we all work to recover from this critical situation and to prevent future emergencies. Give blood now, and make an appointment to give a second time later this summer. Make a commitment to donate blood regularly.
Giving blood is a safe process, is easy, and takes very little time. Although about 60 percent of the people in America are eligible to donate blood, only 5 percent do. Donations are critically needed; please act now by giving the gift of life. Anyone at least 17 years of age, weighing 110 pounds or more and feeling in good health may be eligible to donate blood. Please call your American Red Cross at 1-800 GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543) or log on to givelife.org and make an appointment today. Keep your commitment. Patients are counting on your life saving generosity.
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