The American Red Cross has an urgent need for blood and platelet donations to help prevent a shortage of blood products this January. Hectic holiday schedules in November and December contributed to about 1,700 fewer blood drives held, and 50,000 less donations collected, than the two previous months.
Blood and platelet donors of all types are needed to reverse the declining supply and help ensure blood products continue to be available. A shortage can be averted if at least two more donors – above what’s currently expected – come to donate at every Red Cross blood drive in January.
On average, the Red Cross must collect 14,000 blood and platelet donations every day for patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. Blood and platelets are often needed to respond to emergencies large and small, including the personal ones that occur in communities across the country every day involving accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.
Eligible blood donors with types O, B negative and A negative blood are encouraged to donate double red cells where available. During a double red cell donation, two units of red blood cells are collected while most of the plasma and platelets are returned to the donor.