Blood Center Issues SOS For Donations Amid Critical Shortage

Red Cross Faces Blood Shortage

The Red Cross manages 40 percent of the country's blood supply.

The recent winter storm made a bad situation even worse when it comes to the region's blood supply, according to Mary Brant, external communications manager of the Northern New England Red Cross Blood Services region. This is in addition to seasonal illnesses, such as the flu, and hectic holiday schedules collectively contributing to more than 28,000 fewer donations than what was needed in November and December.

That's why employees at the Blood Center in Metairie are encouraging you to give back this January.

The Red Cross chose to come to Williamsport after hearing about last month's deadly fire on Poplar Street.

The drive raised a total of 53 units of blood - one unit equals about one pint.

A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.

Camossi said she was pleased with the turnout, but more work needs to be done.


Winter weather has led to cancellations of more than 150 American Red Cross blood drives nationwide, leading to an urgent blood shortage this season. RapidPass lets donors complete the pre-donation reading and answer the health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, by visiting redcrossblood.org/rapidpass from the convenience of a mobile device or computer, or through the Blood Donor App. "They have a need for donors to come in and donate either blood or platelets and it will go to local area hospitals first and can then go where needed", she said.

According to the nonprofit's CEO, Ana Montero, since January 1 volunteers responded to more than 35 fires in the state and helped 260 people from 92 families. Since Karpen's blood type is O Negative, a rare and valuable blood type, he is frequently called in to donate. Because the procedure does not significantly reducie a donor's total blood volume, and because it takes only three days for the body to replace the platelets, it is possible to donate platelets as often as every three days.

1 in 4 people who enter the hospital actually need a blood transfusion and many patients need blood on a regular basis.

For those interested in donating, volunteers in MA must be at least 17-years old - or 16 with parental consent - and weigh at least 110-pounds. There is a 12-month waiting period for anyone who has recently gotten a tattoo or been diagnosed with cancer.

The Red Cross website has a list of upcoming drives in the state of MA.

"The need for blood is constant", Isenor said.

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