Tue, 08/07/2007 - 4:23pm
By: The Citizen

Red Cross Urges Type O Blood Donors To Donate Right Away

The American Red Cross is issuing an emergency call throughout Georgia for all eligible donors who have type O positive or O negative blood to give blood immediately. The supply of type O blood has fallen to little more than a half day and the Red Cross is currently able to fill only 30% of hospital requests for these crucial blood types, say Red Cross officials.

“Type O blood is vitally important and we are down to very little in our blood banks,” said Mario Sedlock, Director of Donor Services for the American Red Cross Blood Services Southern Region. “Anyone who needs a transfusion can safely receive type O negative blood, while approximately 86 percent of the population can receive type O positive blood in an emergency. It is critical that patients receive transfusions of their own blood type or one that is compatible with their blood type. Patients who receive incompatible blood can become ill or even die.”

Type O is needed for patients every single day. Since type O is the universal type that can be safely given to patients of any blood type, it is the blood that is used most frequently for transfusions. As type O blood is used for emergencies when there is no time to type a patient’s blood, it makes up almost half of all blood requested from the Red Cross every day by hospitals. It is also used to save the lives of premature babies.

According to Sedlock, hospital emergency rooms and trauma centers cannot function without a supply of O blood on hand. “Many people with type O blood don’t realize how essential it is for them to become regular donors. There never is enough O blood and now during the summer months with fewer donations, it is dangerously low, “said Sedlock.

Most people who are 17 or older and weigh at least 110 pounds, can give blood. Because blood cells regenerate, it is safe to donate every 56 days. While approximately 60 percent of the population is eligible to give blood, nationally, only 5 percent actually donate. For more information or to sign-up for an upcoming blood drive, call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or visit www.givebloodredcross.org.

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