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Blood crisis: American Red Cross urges locals to give during shortage

Brandon Paykamian • Updated Jan 23, 2018 at 5:19 PM

After difficulty finding enough donors throughout the month of January, the regional blood shortage has reached a critical level. 

Severe winter weather throughout the month of January has more than doubled the number of canceled American Red Cross blood drives and the resulting blood and platelet donation shortage, according the organization. The severe flu season has also contributed to a spike in canceled donations, with more than 16,500 blood and platelet donations uncollected last week. 

Right now, officials from the Red Cross say that blood and platelet donations are being distributed to Tennessee’s hospitals faster than they are coming in after more than 550 blood drives have been forced to cancel due to the weather. 

“The flu season, combined with the weather we’re experiencing in our region forcing us to cancel blood drives, has made it more difficult to meet the needs of our patients and hospitals,” spokesperson Maya Franklin said of the shortage. “We are encouraging anyone who has any free time to come make an appointment at a blood center or during a blood drive. When that weather hits again, we could be in that same predicament.”

Every day, the Red Cross looks to collect more than 13,000 blood and platelet donations to meet the needs of patients. Accident victims with severe trauma, patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, blood disorders and other illnesses often require lifesaving transfusions every day. 

There is a particular need for Type O negative blood, which can be transfused to almost anyone, making it a common blood type for emergency responders and doctors in urgent trauma care; Type B negative, which can be transfused to B positive and negative and AB positive and negative patients; and Type AB, which has a plasma type that can be transfused to almost anyone. Platelets, which serve as the clotting component of blood, are used for cancer patients, and are also always in high demand.

With Type O positive blood being the most common blood type, it is also always in high demand, according to Franklin. 

Here are some upcoming local opportunities to make an appointment to donate blood. 

Greeneville

Feb. 13 –  11:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Tusculum College Niswonger Commons, 60 Shiloh Road

Johnson City

Jan. 24 – 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., American Red Cross Blood Donation Center, 818 Sunset Drive, Ste. 100

Jan. 30 –  2:30 p.m. - 7 p.m., American Red Cross Blood Donation Center, 818 Sunset Drive, Ste. 100

Jan. 31 – 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., American Red Cross Blood Donation Center, 818 Sunset Drive, Ste.100

Feb. 6 –  2:30 p.m. - 7 p.m., American Red Cross Blood Donation Center, 818 Sunset Drive, Ste.100

Feb. 7 – 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., American Red Cross Blood Donation Center, 818 Sunset Drive, Ste. 100

Feb. 8 – 11:45 a.m. - 4:15 p.m., University School, Martha Culp Ave. 

Feb. 13 – 2:30 p.m. - 7 p.m., American Red Cross Blood Donation Center, 818 Sunset Drive, Ste. 100

Feb. 14 – 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., American Red Cross Blood Donation Center, 818 Sunset Drive, Ste.100

Jonesborough

Jan. 31 – Noon - 4:30 p.m., Lowe's, 1498 E. Jackson Blvd.

For more information on blood drives or how to donate, visit www.redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)

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