It’s a crisis that could be easily fixed, as the Red Cross is in dire need of blood donations after hundreds of blood drives were canceled due to bad weather. January is still dedicated to blood donations, yet it seemed the non-profit organization has had some unfortunate luck lately.
Typically, during the holidays, meaning November and December, the number of blood and platelet donors is expected to drop. However, the amount usually picks up in January, whether due to awareness campaigns, more time, or simply New Year’s resolutions. That is why the Red Cross often welcome all willing to participants at the beginning of the year. However, this year was an unfortunate exception.
Due to unpredictable weather patterns, they were forced to cancel around 300 blood drives in 20 states around the country. That left them short of approximately 9,500 units of blood which would’ve been crucial to many lives. In fact, one unit of blood from just one donor can save up to three lives. It’s important that the supply stays fresh and well within the required margins. That is not the case at the moment.
According to donor recruitment manager, Jennifer Shaw, the supplies for O negative and O positive have never been as low as they are now. Given that they are universal donors, they play an important role and are in great demand. This is especially the case when the patient has a more rare blood type.
The Red Cross are responsible for 40% of the entire nation’s blood supply, so their shortage arrives as a worry. The biggest source is running short. The organization normally needs around 14,000 blood donations per day so that patients at 2,600 hospital have their needs met.
There are a lot of opportunities to donate, so the Red Cross is asking the public to roll up their sleeve and lend a hand. It’s simple, painless, takes only a few minutes, and could actually save a life. If the demands are not meet soon enough, then doctors will be required to postpone elective surgeries.
Blood has no artificial replacement. There is nothing that can be used in its stead, and it’s crucial to several treatments for numerous patients. This includes burn victims, patients in emergencies after a car accident, heart surgery, organ transplant, or those who are currently under treatment for leukemia, sickle cell disease, and cancer. Furthermore, patients with chronic diseases require the donation regularly in order to be able to live with their condition.
Anyone who would like to donate must be at least 18 years old, or 16 years old with parental consent, and of at least 110 pounds in overall good health.
Image source: health.mil