Urgent call goes out for blood, plasma, platelets

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Whatever happened to the “do not call” list, and who is using all those local numbers to make annoying telemarketing calls on our phones at all times of day and night?

Most of us simply hang up or use some sort of call blocker to filter out junk calls.

There is one type of call we should definitely answer, and respond in a positive way as well.

If you’ve ever donated blood, you may have received a call this week informing you that the American Red Cross is in dire need of blood and platelet donations to keep up with the demand.

Besides a holiday slowdown, the winter storms have had a tremendous impact on blood donations already this year, according to the Red Cross.

With the storm rolling into our area this week, it’s probably not going to get any better.

Officials say 150 blood drives have had to be canceled, leaving more than 5,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected.

The flu outbreak combined with holiday vacations to exacerbate the shortage, adding up to more than 28,000 fewer donations that what was needed in November and December.

“Even temporary disruptions to blood and platelet donations can diminish the availability for hospital patients, said Clifford Numark, senior vice president of Red Cross Blood Services.

“It’s the blood on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency, and that’s why we’re asking eligible individuals to make an appointment to give blood or platelets today.”

Blood first goes to local hospitals, but the Red Cross can then move blood products throughout the country where they’re needed most.

Accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all require blood to save their lives. The Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 blood donations every day for patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals across the country.

All types of blood are urgently needed, but there is a more critical need for platelets, which is primarly given to cancer patients during treatment and always in great demand; type O negative, which can be transfused to almost anyone and is what doctors reach for in trauma situations; type B negative, which can be transfused to type B Rh-positive and negative patients, and type AB, the plasma type that can be transfused to almost everyone and can be donated through a platelet or plasma donation, or during a regular blood donation.

Upcoming opportunities include:

McCook, 1/18/2018: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Ed Thomas YMCA of McCook, 901 West E St

Imperial, 1/22/2018, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Chase County High School, 520 East 9th.

Eustis, 1/29/2018: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., Legion Hall, 108 North Main Street

Cambridge, 1/25/2018: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Cambridge High School, 1003 Nelson St

Eligible donors can find a blood or platelet donation opportunity and schedule an appointment to donate by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass are encouraged to help speed up the donation process.

RapidPass lets donors complete the pre-donation reading and answer the health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, by visiting redcrossblood.org/rapidpass from the convenience of a mobile device or computer, or through the Blood app.

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