Blood Assurance, the regional non-profit blood center, is facing a shortage of blood, especially type O negative, A positive and O positive blood types. Blood Assurance is the sole provider of blood for more than 70 hospitals and healthcare facilities. Blood inventory levels are nearing critically low stages.
Current levels of O negative donations are below a one-day supply. O negative blood is known as the universal blood type because it can be given to patients in an emergency situation when their own blood type is unknown.
Only about 6.6% of the donor population has this blood type.
A list of blood drives is available at www.bloodassurance.org/blooddrives. Donors can also visit one of Blood Assurance’s 12 donor centers. “We are making this appeal to the public now to try and get the blood supply back up before the weekend hits,” said Linda Hisey ,executive Director of public relations and development for Blood Assurance. According to Dr. Liz Culler, Blood Assurance’s medical director, “In times of O negative shortage, O positive can be used to treat males and women over the age of 55 (non-child bearing years); however, it is not our first choice of treatment.”
Due to this, Blood Assurance will see a decrease in the inventory of O positive blood as well. All O negative donors, O positive donors and A positive donors are asked to come and donate today and definitely before the weekend.
Donors must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with parental consent form) and weigh 110 pounds or more. The process usually takes about 30 minutes and includes a complimentary snack and t-shirt. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids - avoiding caffeine - and eat a meal that is rich in iron prior to donating.
For more information about Blood Assurance, please visit www.bloodassurance.org or call 1-800-962-0628. Information can also be found at the organization’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bloodassurance.