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Red Cross Blood Supplies Reach Dangerous Levels

Blood supplies in southeastern Michigan have been depleted due to emergency needs and low donor turnout. The American Red Cross is issuing a call to action to everyone who can, to donate blood.

As of this morning, the Southeastern Michigan Blood Service Region of the American Red Cross had no units of Type O-negative -- the universal blood type -- on its shelves. Type B-negative was below a one-day supply.

Shortages of Type O-negative can be serious since hospitals may use it in most emergency trauma cases when there is not enough time to determine a patient's blood type. Shortages of Type B-negative compound the situation since people with Type B-negative can only receive blood from Type O-negative or Type B-negative donors. The shortage of these two blood types, according to Red Cross officials, has been the norm for the past year or more, and individuals with these blood types make up just nine percent of the general population.

'Donations of Type O-negative and Type B-negative blood are the most crucial, but we are calling on all eligible donors -- regardless of blood type -- to help ensure that blood is available when needed. Other blood types are at dangerously low levels as well,' says Diane Ward, CEO of the American Red Cross Southeastern Michigan Blood Services Region.

Traditionally, the Red Cross sees a drop in donations during the summer months due to vacations and other activities. However, the need for blood grows because of increased highway accidents and other hospital emergencies.

'The Red Cross is encouraging new and previous blood donors to join the battle against summer blood shortages,' Ward adds. 'Make a date to give blood once, or even twice, between June and September. Each time you give, you can help save up to three lives.'

Blood donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good general health.


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