Red Cross calls for blood and platelet donations after severe winter weather impacts collections

  • Friday, February 7, 2014

MYRTLE BEACH — As severe winter weather begins to subside, the American Red Cross is asking all eligible blood and platelet donors to help offset a weather-related shortfall in donations.

Since the beginning of January, winter storms and freezing temperatures have resulted in more than 600 Red Cross blood drive cancellations and nearly 20,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations. In the South Carolina Blood Services Region, severe winter weather forced the cancellation of 27 Red Cross blood drives, resulting in about 1,200 fewer than expected blood and platelet donations over the past four days.

“It’s the blood products already on the shelves that help save lives when severe weather hits,” said Ryan Corcoran, Community CEO of the Red Cross South Carolina Blood Services Region. “Thanks to generous Red Cross blood and platelet donors, blood products were available for patients who still needed transfusions despite the weather. Now we invite those previously ‘frozen out’ from giving blood or platelets to come in soon.”

Platelet donors, as well as blood donors with the most in-demand blood types — O positive and negative, A negative and B negative — are urgently needed to give blood in the days and weeks ahead to offset the shortfall.

Platelets, a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, must be transfused within five days of donation, so donations are constantly needed. Red blood cells, the oxygen carrying component of blood, are the most widely transfused blood product and must be transfused within 42 days.

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