American Red Cross in need of blood donations

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- There is an alert from the American Red Cross. Its national blood supply has reached an all-time low that could put some surgeries on hold.

“It's not something that we could just have here and there,” said Rachel Greathouse, Donor Recruitment Supervisor with the American Red Cross Blood Services in Phoenix. “There are certain types of blood that we always need to have on the shelf.”

Donor blood is always in demand.
 
“We [American Red Cross] provide blood to about 3,000 hospitals nationally and about 17,000 units are needed per month in order to support the blood supply,” Greathouse said.

But donations from across the country have been scarce this summer. The organization's national blood supply has hit its lowest level in 15 years.

“Over the summer when students are out of school we lose those blood drives and businesses and community groups don't tend to have as many blood drives over the summer with vacationing and so on,” Greathouse continued.

In fact, the blood shortage could force patients to cancel elective surgeries or worse.    

“It could potentially be something more critical,” Greathouse said. “If someone was in a near emergency room situation like a car accident and we didn't have O negative on the shelf, then they potentially wouldn't have that life saving blood that they need.”
 
It’s a need that will hopefully get people to step up to the plate.
 
“So it's really important that everyone makes an effort to go out and donate and if they can't , recruit family and friends,” Greathouse said. “They're one blood donation can save up to three people's lives.”

Severe weather and excessive heat also played a factor in people not being able to donate.

To find a Valley American Red Cross blood drive near, visit www.redcrossblood,org or call to set up an appointment at 1-800-RED-CROSS.