Red Cross issues urgent call for most needed blood types


— The American Red Cross is facing a looming shortage of the blood types most needed by patients and is calling on eligible donors with O negative, B negative, and A negative blood to give now to prevent an emergency situation.

Blood donation appointments can be quickly and easily scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

Overall blood donations in the Red Cross Greater Chesapeake & Potomac Blood Services Region have been approximately 1,100 fewer per month in June and July this year than the previous 10 months of the year. When demand for the most needed types begins to outpace donations, the Red Cross alerts donors to help restock the shelves.

Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to patients with any blood type. Types B negative and A negative can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients. Eligible donors are encouraged to donate double red cells – a process where two units of red cells are collected while most of the plasma and platelets are returned to the donor – where available.

“Summer blood shortages are not uncommon, but they can be prevented when generous volunteers roll up their sleeves to help save lives,” said Nick Gehrig, senior communications director, Red Cross Blood Services. “Many donors have already given this summer. We’re now asking donors who haven’t donated, and those who are eligible again, to make an appointment to give now to help ensure blood products are available for patients.”

Platelets and type AB plasma also needed

Platelet donors and those with type AB blood are also continually needed to help ensure patients receive the lifesaving blood products they need. Platelets – a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, surgical patients and bone narrow recipients – must be transfused within five days of donation, so donations are constantly needed. Donors with type AB blood are urged to give blood or platelets to restock the plasma supply. Type AB donors have the universal plasma type, which can be given to patients of all blood types.

Individuals who donated blood earlier this summer may be eligible to donate again and help patients like an expectant mother at a RedCross-supported hospital who is currently receiving nearly 100 units of blood products a week until she delivers. Her need alone could add up to 1,100 units.

Upcoming Blood Donation Opportunities

Annapolis— 8/10/2015: 12 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Home Depot Annapolis Forest Plaza, 55 Forest Plaza

Crofton— 8/4/2015: 1:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., AA County Public Library Crofton Branch SCU, 1681 Riedel Road

Severn— 8/15/2015: 8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Severn Covenant Church, 20 Gambrills Road

Baltimore— 8/6/2015: 1:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., Temple Oheb Shalom, 7310 Park Heights Ave

8/11/2015: 12 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center,

9000 Franklin Square Drive

Cockeysville— 8/14/2015: 12 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Hunt Valley Towne Center, 118 Shawan Road

Hunt Valley— 8/9/2015: 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Star Trek Bloodmobile, 245 Shawan Road

8/12/2015: 1:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., The Point @Hunt Valley Church, 10950

Gilroy Road

Lutherville— 8/6/2015: 2 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., The Maryland Athletic Club, 110 West

Timonium Road

Owings Mills— 8/5/2015: 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Paychex, 700 Red Brook Blvd

8/14/2015: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Hilton Garden Inn, 4770 Owings Mills Blvd.