Grab a cookie and get in the chair.
Imagine going into the Emergency Room, bleeding from a car accident. The EMTs tell you it doesn't have to be a serious injury as long as they can handle the blood loss. Imagine then being told they can't actually handle the blood loss – even at the hospital.
That's the reality the American Red Cross is facing today. It has only two days worth of Type-O blood left for the entire United States. Just six units for every 100,000 people.
We are currently experiencing a critical shortage of type O blood donations. Please give now to help ensure a sufficient blood supply for patients in need: https://t.co/njDmiejvnS pic.twitter.com/zGz6ZIIklq— American Red Cross (@RedCross) May 14, 2019
An estimated seven percent of Americans have Type-O negative blood, but it can be transfused to any patient. So when the emergency department needs blood in a hurry and doesn't have time to type a patient's blood, a process that can take up to a half hour, they reach for the universal donor's blood. But Type-O positive is also a critical blood type, being the most widely transfused type.
The Red Cross has tried a number of different gimmicks to try and get more people to donate, especially those with O-negative blood. The Red Cross in Arizona even offered a giveaway package to send a lucky donor to Los Angeles for the season 8 premiere of Game of Thrones.
What would you do #FortheThrone? Show your @GameofThrones pride and sign up to donate blood with us. Come to give by 3/17 and you’ll automatically be entered to win a trip to the season 8 world premiere. Make your appt now: https://t.co/Utl46ltDjH pic.twitter.com/DZTio1zLjb— American Red Cross (@RedCross) February 19, 2019
And that was back in February 2019. Nearly four months later, the show has ended, and the blood supply situation is critical and will only get worse. As the year turns to Spring and Summer, blood drives and school collections wind down, further shortening the supply.
With such a severe shortage, conditions that would normally be survivable could soon become more and more lethal. Transfusions are needed for much more than trauma from car accidents and the like. Blood is necessary for things we may even consider routine in our day and age, from cancer treatments to childbirth.
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