The American Red Cross issued a call for platelet and type O negative and AB blood donors after severe March winter weather in some parts of the country caused about 250 Red Cross blood drives to cancel, resulting in more than 8,500 uncollected blood and platelet donations.Platelets, type O negative blood and type AB plasma are three of the most in-demand blood products by hospitals.
Those who give can help patients locally or across the country as the Red Cross has the ability to move blood products where and when they are needed most.
“All blood types are needed to meet the constant need of patients, and there is a significant need now for platelet and type O negative and AB donations to help some of the most vulnerable patients,” said Amy Brown, district manager, Midwest Red Cross Blood Services. “We ask that you schedule an appointment to roll up a sleeve to help save a life in the coming days.”
Real life example
Donations help patients like Brady Prosser. He was severely burned in October while mowing near burning leaves. He received regular – sometimes daily – blood and plasma transfusions during his hospitalization.
Platelets are tiny cells in blood that form clots and stop bleeding. Although they are needed for many reasons, cancer patients often rely on platelets during treatment. Platelets must be transfused within just five days after donation, making steady donations an important component of patient care. By giving platelets, donors can help patients kick cancer.
Type O negative blood can be transfused to patients with any blood type and is often needed in emergency situations when there isn’t time to determine a patient’s blood type. While less than 7 percent of the U.S. population has type O negative blood, hospitals depend on frequent O negative donations to ensure it’s always available for patients in need. Type O negative blood donors are an important part of the Red Cross trauma team.
Type AB is the universal plasma type and can be transfused to patients of any blood type in an emergency. Plasma helps maintain blood pressure and supplies critical proteins for clotting and immunity. Plasma can be donated through a blood or platelet donation, or through a plasma-only donation where available.