Red Cross Facing Blood Supply Shortage

(KCPW News)  Blood supplies kept by the American Red Cross for distribution to local hospitals has dropped to approximately 50 percent of normal, and there are critical shortages of types O positive, O negative, B negative and A negative.  Spokesman John Petersen says overall blood donations are down for the first five months of 2012.

“If there was an emergency, if lots of people were killed or injured, everyone would be aware of that and people would line up to donate blood,” says Petersen.  “But when there’s not an emergency like that, it’s just not top of mind and people aren’t thinking about it.”

The local chapter of the Red Cross supplies blood to 31 hospitals in Utah, and Peterson says it must collect 440 units of blood per day to meet their needs.  That’s why the Red Cross is hoping to rebuild its supply.

“There are cancer patients, and surgeries scheduled, and there probably will be accidents in the summer.  We need the blood in place before its needed,” says Petersen.

Eligible donors can visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to find donation locations or schedule an appointment.