Red Cross issues emergency call for blood donorsJanuary 15, 2019
By ALLEN LAMAN
In the wake of a holiday donation lull, the American Red Cross issued an emergency call to all blood and platelet donors on Monday.
The urgent request comes after a dry spell during which the national nonprofit organization collected more than 27,000 fewer blood and platelet donations than required to sustain a sufficient blood supply. According to a Monday press release, from Christmas to New Year’s, about 1,350 fewer blood drives were hosted by volunteer sponsor groups than required to meet patient needs.
“Many people may not realize that blood products are perishable, and the only source of lifesaving blood for patients is volunteer blood donors,” Cliff Numark, senior vice president of Red Cross Biomedical Services, said in the release. “When donations decline — as they did around the holidays and may further decline if severe winter weather and flu season pick up — lifesaving medical treatments could be delayed.”
The Red Cross currently has a less than three-day supply of most blood types on hand, which is well below the ideal, five-day supply needed to respond to emergencies and daily hospital needs. Blood products are currently being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in, the release read.
Locally, the Red Cross River Valley Blood Services region — which encompasses parts of southern Indiana and central Kentucky — fell nearly 200 donations short of the necessary amount to keep supplies up during the holiday stretch.
Tiffany Taylor, the external communications manager for the region, said the organization is reaching out to previous donors, volunteer blood drive coordinators and even its own staff members to replenish the stock. Keeping up with donations is a constant battle during colder months, she said.
“The shortage can affect us if people don’t come out and donate in a way that it really can impact our hospital patients,” Taylor said. “There’s always a chance that if we don’t have the necessary, needed blood on the shelves that a physician may have to postpone an elective surgery if the needed blood products aren’t readily available.”
The worst case scenario involves patients who need serious procedures. If the shortage worsens, those procedures could be forgone.
“That’s why we’re really encouraging the community, if you’re eligible to come out, to definitely come out and roll up a sleeve to give,” Taylor said.
The organization’s blood supply fluctuates daily. Taylor often hears people ask why the Red Cross asks for blood so frequently, and she tells them that blood is perishable and has a shelf life.
“We need blood every day,” she said.
All eligible donors, especially platelet donors and blood donors with Type O blood, are urged to make an appointment to give in the coming days to help restock the shelves for hospital patients. Those who wish to donate can find a blood or platelet donation opportunity and schedule an appointment to donate by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-733-2767.
Taylor encouraged those who cannot donate blood to host blood drives, volunteer with the organization and spread the word to those who can give.
Upcoming area blood drives:
• Hutson Inc.-John Deere, 2951 N 600W, Jasper, 1-6 p.m., Thursday.
• Walmart, 4040 Newton St., Jasper, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday, Jan. 28.
• Holy Family Catholic Church, 950 E. Church Ave., Jasper, 2-7 p.m., Wedneseday, Jan. 30.
• Norris & Love/ Health Pointe, 1990 St. Charles St., Jasper, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 1.
• Jasper Public Library, 1116 Main St., 1-6 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 6.
• St. Raphael Catholic Church, 5564 St. Raphael St., Dubois, 8 a.m. to noon, Sunday, Feb. 10.
• Moose Lodge 1175, 2507 Newton St., Jasper, 1-7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 18.
• Jasper Middle School, 3600 N. Portersville Road, 2-7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 20.
• VFW Post 2366, 314 Geiger St., Huntingburg, 3-7 p.m., Tuesday, March 26.
• St. Mary’s Church, 2835 N. 500W, Ireland, 2-7 p.m., Thursday, April 4.
• Ruxer Center, Vincennes University Jasper Campus, 850 College Ave., 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday, April 9.
• Cathedral Health Care Center, 520 W. Ninth St., Jasper, 2-6 p.m.,Wednesday, April 10.
• Moose Lodge 1175, 2507 Newton St., Jasper, 1-7 p.m., Monday, April 22.
• Huntingburg Elementary School, 510 W. Sunset Drive, 2-7 p.m., Thursday, May 16.
• Schnellville Community Club, 7855 E. Market St., 2-7 p.m., Thursday, May 30.
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