American Red Cross makes urgent request for blood and platelet donations

CLEVELAND- The American Red Cross is facing a winter blood shortage and is pleading for blood and platelet donations.

According to the Red Cross, severe winter weather has had a tremendous impact on blood donations. More than 150 blood drives were forced to cancel. The weather cancellations are in addition to seasonal illnesses, such as the flu and hectic holiday schedules that contributed to more than 28,000 fewer donations than what the Red Cross needed in November and December.

“Even temporary disruptions to blood and platelet donations can diminish the availability for hospital patients,” said Christy Peters, external communications manager of the local Red Cross Blood Services Region. “It’s the blood on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency, and that’s why we’re asking eligible individuals to make an appointment to give blood or platelets today.”

While all blood types are urgently needed, there is a more critical need for the following blood and donation types right now:

• Platelets: The clotting portion of blood primarily given to cancer patients during treatment and always in great demand.
• Type O negative: The blood type that can be transfused to almost everyone and is what doctors reach for in trauma situations.
• Type B negative: The blood type that can be transfused to type B Rh-positive and negative patients.
• Type AB: The plasma type that can be transfused to almost everyone and can be donated through a platelet or plasma donation, where available, or during a regular blood donation.

Eligible donors can schedule an appointment to donate by using the Blood Donor App, visiting the Red Cross website, or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS ( 733-2767)