Superstorm Sandy has already caused the cancellation of about 300 American Red Cross blood drives and more cancellations are expected as the storm continues to move to the west.
“Patients will still need blood despite the weather,” said Dr. Richard Benjamin, chief medical officer of the Red Cross. “To ensure a sufficient national blood supply is available for those in need, both during and after the storm passes, it is critical that those in unaffected areas make an appointment to donate blood as soon as possible.”
So far, the cancellations have resulted in a shortfall of more than 9,000 blood and platelet donations across 14 states that would otherwise be available for those needing transfusions. The situation may worsen as the storm continues to move and in its aftermath.
The Red Cross did move blood and blood products to those areas most likely to be affected by Sandy so that the blood needs of people in those communities could be met. However, the long- term impact of power outages and blood drive cancellations is expected to be significant.
To schedule a blood donation or for more information about giving blood or platelets, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. An average of 44,000 blood donations are needed each and every day across the country to help treat accident victims, cancer patients, and children with blood disorders. These patients and others rely on blood products during their treatment. This need does not diminish when disaster strikes.
WHO CAN GIVE? All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are generally in good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.