Blood supply needs boost

Published 9:19 pm Thursday, March 12, 2015

With blood supplies hit hard by the cancellation of dozens of blood drives by winter storms, the American Red Cross is urging eligible donors to make an appointment soon to give blood.

“We definitely were hit hard by the snow,” said Kristen Hatfield, an external communications manager for the American Red Cross. “March is Red Cross Month, and we’re hoping donors with eligibility will donate blood and platelets to keep the blood supply well stocked.”

Across 27 states affected by severe weather, about 7,000 blood and platelet donations went uncollected, Hatfield said. About 200 blood drives were canceled, 34 of them in the Hampton Roads area.

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Trauma victims, cancer and surgery patients, premature babies and more rely on blood donations no matter the weather, Hatfield noted.

“Blood product are being delivered to hospitals almost as quickly as they’re coming in,” Hatfield said. “It’s really important to keep the blood on the shelf ready to go.”

She said she was not aware of any instances in which blood needed was not available, but the supply needs to be boosted before it does run out.

“We’re encouraging donors of all blood types, but particularly O-negative, A-negative and B-negative,” Hatfield said.

“O-negative is the universal donor,” Hatfield said. “It can be given to any of us, so if there’s an emergency situation and there’s not enough time to cross-match that patient’s blood type, they can receive O-negative.”

For platelets, the most needed donors are AB-positive and AB-negative.

“Platelets are the clotting factor in your blood,” Hatfield said, noting cancer and leukemia patients especially need platelets. “It’s such an important donation to give.”

A blood drive is set for the Dominion Virginia Power recreation building at 5272 Godwin Blvd. for March 25 from noon to 4 p.m.

Donors can also find other blood drives and schedule an appointment by downloading the free Red Cross blood donor app, visiting or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. To make an appointment to donate platelets, call 623-4880.