Donations urged as blood shortage strikes Middle Tennessee - WKRN News 2

Donations urged as blood shortage strikes Middle Tennessee

Posted: Updated: Jul 23, 2014 09:40 PM

The American Red Cross is in dire need of blood donations this summer in the face of a shortage.

The organization said donations are down approximately 8 percent over the last 11 weeks, which is around 80,000 fewer donations than expected.

In a release Wednesday, the Red Cross said the number of donors continues to decline.

The shortfall is so significant, they could experience an emergency situation in the coming weeks.

“It’s concerning me and the entire team,” said Dr. Rick Miller, the head of trauma and surgical and critical care at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “It's going to seriously affect our ability to keep people alive who are critically injured.”

Dr. Miller asks people to donate blood as soon as possible.

“We transfuse almost 32 thousand units of blood and blood products [a year] just at Vanderbilt, so you can realize the extent of the problem,” he said.

Eligible donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood are especially needed at this time.

Type O negative is the universal blood and can be transfused to anyone who needs blood. Types A negative and B negative can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients.

The Red Cross said there is also an urgent need for platelet donations. Platelets are a key clotting component of blood needed by cancer patients, burn victims and bone marrow recipients.

Platelets must be transfused within five days of donation, so a steady supply is necessary to have on hand.

The organization said the summer is among the most challenging times of the year for donations. July 13 marked the half-way point of their campaign “100 Days of Summer, 100 Days of Hope.”

They said people who donated blood earlier this summer may now be eligible to donate again and help patients such as accident victims, heart surgery patients and children with blood disorders.

There are dozens of upcoming blood drives across Middle Tennessee in Davidson, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson counties. Click here for a full list.

Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to make an appointment or for more information.

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