American Red Cross Issues Blood Supply Alert

Wednesday, September 12, 2007 General News
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PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 11 The American Red CrossPenn-Jersey Region is issuing a blood supply alert for New Jersey and fivecounties in southeastern Pennsylvania. All blood types are needed; howeverthere is a critical need for Type O and Type B blood. Brigid O'Neill-LaGier,Chief Executive Officer of the Penn-Jersey Region, is appealing to people inthe community to donate blood. "The blood supply is a community resource; aresource that solely relies on volunteer donors in communities across thecountry. Locally, we are at risk of not being able to provide enough blood ofcertain types needed to support patient care."

People are urged to call 1-800-GIVE LIFE (1-800-448-3543) or to visithttp://www.pleasegiveblood.org to schedule a blood donation appointment assoon as possible. You do not need to know your blood type to donate blood, butif you do and are among those blood types urgently needed, please make anappointment today. There are community blood drives and donor centers locatedthroughout New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania seven days a week.

The American Red Cross supplies almost half of the nation's blood supplyto hospitals through 35 blood service regions across the country. Although theRed Cross system is able to ship blood when and where it is needed, volunteerblood donors of all blood types are needed everyday to replenish and sustainthe blood supply both nationally and locally. "When one region or area of thecountry experiences a blood shortage, it puts a strain on the entire bloodcollection system, which could ultimately affect patient care," says O'Neill-LaGier. "Locally, we import one-third of our blood supply from other Red Crossregions," O'Neill-LaGier adds.

Population density, along with patient care within these regions, isvastly diverse, making blood collection an issue of supply and demand based onblood type. Currently in New Jersey and five counties in southeasternPennsylvania (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties)the need is greatest for O Negative, O Positive, B Negative and A negativeblood. O'Neill-LaGier states that "if you have one of the critical blood typeswe need right now or even if you don't know your blood type, we ask you todonate blood as soon as possible. If we can not keep up with the demand forthese blood types, the health of local patients may be at risk."

To donate blood through the American Red Cross, individuals must be atleast 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in general goodhealth. Eligible individuals are urged to call 1-800-GIVE LIFE (1-800-448-3543) or visit http://www.pleasegiveblood.org to find out where they can givethe gift of life.

Blood Facts

Some patients require a closer blood match than that provided by the ABOpositive/negative blood typing. For example, sometimes if the donor andrecipient are from the same racial or ethnic background, the chance of areaction can be reduced. That's why an African-American blood donation may bethe best hope for the needs of patients with sickle cell disease, because 98%of these patients are of African-American descent.

The demand for blood remains constant. Two thousand units of blood must becollected each and every day in New Jersey and five counties in southeasternPennsylvania just to meet the basic needs of area hospitals and the patientsthey serve. Call 1-800-GIVE LIFE (1-800-448-3543) or visithttp://www.pleasegiveblood.org to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.O Positive is the most common blood type. Not all racial and ethnic groupshave the same mix of these blood types. The Hispanic population, for example,has a relatively higher percentage of O's, while the Asian population has ahigher percentage of B's. The mix of different blood types in the U.S.population is: White African American Hispanic Asian O + 37 % 47 %


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