There’s a blood shortage

A sharp decline in national blood donations in June and early July has led the American Red Cross to issue an emergency request for platelet and blood donors of all blood types, including an urgent plea for help across Michigan. Nationwide, blood donations to the Red Cross were down 10-percent in June, resulting in about 50,000 fewer donations than expected. Todd Kulman, of the Red Cross Great Lakes Blood Services Region, says the reduction is mostly due to the cancellation of more than 80-percent of high school and college blood drives held during the school year once they go on summer break. Those drives account for as much as 20-percent of Red Cross donations during the school year. Kuhlman says complicating that are regular adult donors who also go on vacation. Kulhman says the Great Lakes Blood Region needs 650 donors each day to step forward and give blood, just to meet normal demand. Eligible donors in Michigan can be as young as 16, with a parents permission, weight at least 110 pounds and be in good health. Those with Types “Oh” negative, “B” negative and “A” negative blood are especially encouraged to give. Type “Oh” negative is a universal blood type and can be transfused to anyone who needs blood. Types “A” negative and “B” negative can be transfused to “Rh” positive or negative patients. There is also an urgent need for platelet donations. Platelets – a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients – must be transfused within five days of donation, so its important to have a steady supply of platelets on hand. Kuhlman urges donors to check out w-w-w-red cross-dot-org or call 1-800-Red-Cross, for more information on blood drives in your area.   (MRN)

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