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Emergency Call for Blood, Platelet Donations

Hospitals desperately need blood and platelet donations, which are down due to the holidays and bad weather. (redcross.org)
Hospitals desperately need blood and platelet donations, which are down due to the holidays and bad weather. (redcross.org)
January 5, 2017

ST. LOUIS – The American Red Cross has issued an emergency call for help.

The organization needs blood and platelet donors after 37,000 fewer donations than expected came in at blood banks across the nation in November and December.

That includes the 319 locations in the Missouri-Illinois Blood Services Region.

Spokesman Joe Zydlo says donations are critically needed now so that patients can continue to receive lifesaving treatments.

"Any blood type – A, A Positive, O, O Negative, B Negative – any and every blood type is needed," he stresses.

Zydlo says anyone can look online at RedCrossBlood.org and put in a ZIP code to find the nearest donation site.

Zydlo points out this is the time of the year when blood donations are typically low because of the holidays, and bad weather is an additional factor that often keeps people from getting to donation sites.

But the need is there, 365 days a year.

"Hospitals don't get a vacation,” he states. “They don't get to take a holiday.

“There's patients that need it – cancer patients need platelet donations, too, that's so critical. It could be a life threatening type of situation."

Zydlo points out about 20 percent of blood drives are held at schools – so when they're closed, it really makes an impact.

"This is really one of two times of the year when we go into an emergency appeal – where we have this critical, emergency shortage, if you will, and it's really impacted us," he states.

Zydlo adds snowstorms and severe weather across the Midwest forced nearly 100 blood drives to cancel in December, resulting in thousands of potential blood donations going uncollected.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MO