The agency says it’s down to a two-day supply of the O blood types.
Baltimore, Md (KM) It’s a very serious situation. That’s how the Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Blood Services Region of the Red Cross describes the nation’s blood supplies. Spokeswoman Regina Boothe Bratton says the country is down to a two-day supply of O-positive and O-negative blood types. In our region, she says those supplies are depleted.
“If one area had the shortfall, we could look to another state to supplement. And that’s the great thing about being a part of the Red Cross because we do have that national inventory system. But right now, we can’t do that. We have, again, a two-day supply, and that’s our national inventory,” says Bratton.
Bratton says the O blood types are used by emergency room physicians during surgeries when they don’t have the time to determine a patient’s blood type.
The Red Cross is taking action to try to remedy this crisis, says Bratton. Part of that includes reaching out to citizens to get them to roll up their sleeves and donate. “We are looking at our different blood banks around the country to see what we can do, how we can prioritize patient needs to make sure every need is met. And our leadership team is in the process of doing that right now,” she says.
She also says the blood inventory has taken a hit recently due to the Red Cross responding to a number of disasters. “This started two years with that huge storm that hit Texas and Puerto Rico. Keep in mind, we’re still responding to that storm aftermath in Puerto Rico,” says Bratton.
The Red Cross has also provided blood to victims of mass shootings around the country, including one in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Anyone who wants to give blood can call 1-800-RED-CROSS to make an appointment, or go on line to redcrossblood.org.
Bratton says a donor should be 18-years of age or older, in relatively good health and weigh at least 100 pounds.
The need is greatest for O-positive and O-negative, but Bratton all blood types are welcome.
By Kevin McManus