The American Red Cross is currently in need of type O negative blood donations, which is the rarest type of them all and the most needed because it can be given to patients with any blood type. The type is mostly used in emergency situations when a transfusion has to be given immediately.
Even though less than 7 percent of the U.S population has the universal donor type of blood, hospitals frequently depend on O negative donations to ensure the type is always available for patients in need, as reported by Patch.
“Type O negative donors are an important part of the Red Cross trauma team,” said Nick Gehrig, communications director, Red Cross Blood Services. “While all blood types are needed, type O negative donations are necessary in emergency situations when there is no time to determine a patient’s blood type,” he added.
The rare blood type donors are also constantly encouraged to make a double cell donation to ensure a stable supply. This kind of donations takes about 30 minutes longer and allows donors to give two units of red cells. During the process, an apheresis machine collets the red cells and most of the platelets and plasma are returned, according to Tech Times.
Double red cell donations from Type O donors with Rh-negative blood types play a very important role in the maintenance of the organization’s supply, said the American Red Cross on it website.
No risk to the donor
Donating blood, any type, does not represent a significant risk for the donor, it is a painless process that just takes a minute, Dr. Sandeep Chhabra, a cardiologist at Graves-Gilbert Clinic, said.
The Red Cross must collect near 14,000 blood and platelet donations on a daily basis for patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide. Besides the blood being needed for emergencies, it is also needed for heart surgeries, organ transplant patients and even patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.
Potential donors just sign in, read literature about donating blood, get their vital signs taken and are asked a few health-related questions, added Tiffany Taylor, external communications manager for the Tennessee Valley Region Blood Services Region.