The Red Cross said it is running short on blood. -- Illustration

Emergency call for blood

Published 10:15pm Friday, January 28, 2011

This winter, the temperature hasn’t been the only thing that has dropped.

According to information from the American Red Cross, inclement weather throughout the eastern part of the U.S. since Jan. 1 has caused a decline in more than 14,000 blood and platelet donations nationwide and nearly 700 donations in Alabama and the Central Gulf Coast.

Mark Beddingfield, CEO of the Alabama and Central Gulf Coast Blood Services Region, said the decrease in donations has been dramatic.

“We have not seen the January supply drop this dramatically in a decade,” Beddingfield said. “We need to reverse this now because donating blood or platelets helps ensure immediate and future patient needs will be met.”

Every two seconds in the U.S., a person who has suffered trauma — heart surgery patient, patient receiving treatment for Leukemia or other diseases, premature babies and many others — is in need of a blood transfusion.

The American Red Cross is the single largest supplier of blood products to hospitals throughout the U.S. The Red Cross accepts all blood types but O negative is ideal.

Evan Duffy, communications manager for the American Red Cross, Alabama and Central Gulf Coast Blood Services, said it’s important for past donors to answer this immediate call.

“Some 300 blood drives have been cancelled so far,” Duffy said. “We don’t want those in need to go without, so if you haven’t given blood in a while, now is a great time to do so. Give blood.”

To schedule an appointment to donate, call the Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767 or visit www.redcrossblood.org.

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