Red cross issues emergency call for blood donors

I-270

MARYLAND (WDVM) — At the Frederick Red Cross Donation Center, Steven Switlick is about the only donor filling up a bed.  

“It doesn’t hurt. The worst thing it does is it takes a little of your time,” Switlick explained.

The American Red Cross has issued an emergency need for blood donors across the country.

“We need the blood right now. There is less than a two day supply of blood in the area. There’s less than a one-day supply of type-o blood, which is the emergency type of blood you need when you don’t have time to type somebody’s blood,” explained Eric Anderson with the Western Maryland Chapter of the American Red Cross.

That low supply is used in the Greater Chesapeake region that includes Maryland and Delaware.

Nationally, there is less than a 3-days supply.

Anderson says one reason they could be seeing fewer donors through the doors is vacation time.

“In the summertime, you have people that are taking vacations. Schools, for example, that are used as sites for blood drives- schools are closed so you can’t hold a blood drive at a school,” Anderson said.

And coming off of the 4th of July holiday weekend, the Red Cross says more than 450 fewer blood drives were held, which could have led to about 17,000 fewer donations.

“An ideal blood drive would be a blood drive where we collect 30 or units of blood. We see several of those around, but unfortunately not as many as we would like to see,” Anderson said.

In addition to blood donations, the Red Cross is also calling for platelets. That involves removing blood, separating the platelets and then returning the blood into the donor.

And that’s exactly what Switlick is donating.

“People should donate if they possibly can,” Switlick said.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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