NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

July 12, 2013

Red Cross issues call for blood and platelet donors

The American Red Cross has issued an emergency request for platelet and blood donors of all blood types to roll up a sleeve and give because many fewer donations than expected were received in June and the first week of July.

“We are counting on generous volunteer blood and platelet donors to step up and give now,” said Donna Morrissey, director of communications for the Red Cross Northeast Blood Services Division. “Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. Each day donations come up short, less blood is available for these patients in need.”

Nationwide, donations through the Red Cross were down approximately 10 percent in June, resulting in about 50,000 fewer donations than expected. The shortfall is similar to what the Red Cross experienced in June 2012.

Eligible donors with blood types O-negative, B-negative and A-negative are especially encouraged to give. Type O-negative is the 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 it’s important to have a steady supply on hand.

To donate blood, call 800-733-2767 or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients.

A blood donor card or driver’s license (or two other forms of identification) is required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years old (16 with parental permission), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

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