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Triangle Red Cross makes urgent call for blood donations

Posted July 10, 2008

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— Blood inventory levels have fallen so low that the Triangle Chapter of the American Red Cross is unable to meet the demand of local hospitals, the chapter announced Thursday.

"While there is a constant need for all blood types, donors with type O positive, O negative, A positive and A negative are asked to take an hour of time to help save a life by donating as soon as possible at a drive location near them,” according to the group’s press release.

It is especially crucial for donors with type O blood to donate within the next few days. Type O is the most common blood type and is used extensively by hospitals.

Type O blood donors are considered universal red cell donors because their blood can be given to most other blood types in emergencies when there is no time to type a patient’s blood.

Hospitals commonly experience an increase in traumas during the summer, making the need for type O blood even greater.

The Red Cross has four donation centers in the Triangle area available to the public to schedule a donation appointment.

Those interested in donating should call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (448-3543) to find out the locations and hours of operation of the center closest to them. You may also go to www.givelife.org.

“The need for blood never takes a vacation,” said Robert Fechner, chief executive officer of American Red Cross Carolinas Blood Services Region. “Blood donations typically decline during the summer months, but hundreds of blood transfusion are given to treat area hospital patients every day. Unless donors respond immediately, hospitals may need to postpone elective or non-emergency surgeries.”

In the summer, blood shortages often occur because individual donations decrease, along with the number of organizations that are able to sponsor blood drives. The absence of high school and college blood drives also contributes to this annual drop in donations because these drives account for approximately 20 percent of all donations in the Carolinas region.

The American Red Cross Carolinas Blood Services Region needs approximately 1,600 people to donate blood and platelets each weekday to meet the needs of hospital patients.

Most people who are age 17 or older and weigh at least 110 pounds are eligible to give blood every 56 days.

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  • parr4246 Jul 11, 2008

    teach4ever67....................thanks for the hints you suggested! maybe I will try again and give the ARC another chance, but if they don't hit a vein this go round all I can say is I tried......!!!!

  • Snakebite Survivor Jul 11, 2008

    Yes, the restriction on gay men is absurd. Even though I am HIV-negative, and even though the blood is tested for HIV anyway, I'm still excluded. At least it gives me a good excuse not to feel guilty about not responding to blood drives!

  • wraltv Jul 11, 2008

    What is so amazing, is that the Red Cross discriminates on who can donate blood. You can be a flaming ho or junkie and donate, but monogamously coupled gay men can't. They have a question that asks if you've EVER had sex with someone of the same sex, and if you answer yes, you're automatically disqualified. this is preposterous, as they screen all blood for HIV and other potential problems. There wouldn't be such a shortage if they would let clean, healthy willing people donate.

  • Defcon Labs Jul 11, 2008

    Thanks to Mad Cow, i can't donate my o neg blood.

  • pedsRN Jul 10, 2008

    The Red Cross has to pay it's employees for the working. The only persons involved in a blood drive that are volunteers are the greeter & the canteen worker. FDA regulations have cut what volunteers are allowed to do.
    I give blood on a regular basis(received my 11 gallon pin this year) & I volunteer in blood services.
    An incentive to give this month: There is a drawing for 3($1000)gas cards. Donating blood or platelets makes you eligible to win 1 of these 3.

  • Geekette Jul 10, 2008

    I am O- negative and I try to donate as often as possible.

  • oldschooltarheel Jul 10, 2008

    mdiniz - preventing family from donating is to prevent the EXTREME family disruptions/psychodrama that develop in already stressed households when a family member's blood doesn't pass screening tests (now everyone thinks it is their right to know why) or when a family member doesn't want to donate (then it is all about WHY NOT?). Both these situations can lead to irreparable family schisms & possible violence. Best to avoid b/c then trial lawyers show up wanting to foist the blame onto an entity with deep pockets.

  • mdiniz55 Jul 10, 2008

    i am unable to donate due to medical reasons. several weeks ago my daughter was having surgery and was told that there was a very good possibility that she would need a transfusion. several family & church members wanted to donate for her & were told they couldn't because the redcross requires at least a ten day requirement for donations. we were so frustrated & all of these people are regular donators. the hospital said it was not an option, because the r/c is the supplier & we had to follow the rules. fortunately she did not need a transfusion, but what are people to do in cases of emergencies? if people can donate for strangers (i totally support donations, & it is the right thing to do) how come we can't donate for family members or loved ones in cases of emergencies?

  • CestLaVie Jul 10, 2008

    ezLikeSundayMorning: Haywood is where I had my wonderful experience, which completely turned me off.

  • teach4ever67 Jul 10, 2008

    Parr4246 - I am a "tough stick" as well. Fortunately the phlebotomist at the ARC where I go do a very good job. I actually get worst sticks when I go to a hospital or to a doctor's office. I can, however, give you a hint on how to make your next visit a little better. It is difficult to hit the veins if the patient is not properly hydrated or if their veins like to "roll." To help with this I drink plenty of water before it is time for me to donate and I forgo the sodas till after I have finished my donation. Also, ask the the phlebotomist to put a blood pressure cuff on you instead of the elastic tourniquets. This may help.... Just remember that it is not always the phlebotomist's fault, sometimes people just have veins that are more difficult to find and hit. These men and women do not intend to hurt us. Afterall, they depend upon "repeat customers."

    Sometimes the process may be painful, but I feel sure that it is a lot less painful than losing someone you love to death.

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