ARC: Blood shortage critical

Published 6:49 am Friday, July 22, 2011

Three upcoming local blood drives seek to help the American Red Cross fill a critical need.

Red Cross officials say the lack of donors, due in part to hectic schedules and summer distractions, is creating a regional crisis.

In fact, blood supply levels are among the lowest the Red Cross has seen in more than a dozen years, according to a press release.

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Because of the low number of donors and the high demand for blood, the Red Cross is asking that people healthy enough to donate take the time and come to the next blood drive.

The next blood drive is 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at Sanders Lead in Troy.

Future blood drives are to be held 1 to 6 p.m. July 26 at Bush Memorial Baptist Church and noon to 4 p.m. July 28 at Troy Health and Rehab.

Kenneth McMillin, medical director of the Southeast Division of the American Red Cross Biomedical Services said the Red Cross is experiencing a critical blood shortage.

“As a physician, I have seen first-hand how blood transfusions can truly help save lives,” McMillin said. “However, a critical blood shortage like the one we’re experiencing right now could have a devastating effect on a patient whose survival may depend on blood being there when needed.”

According to a news release, Red Cross Alabama and Central Gulf Coast Blood Services Region provides lifesaving blood to approximately 100 hospitals and must have 600 people give blood and platelets each weekday to meet hospital demand.

Accident victims, as well as patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, blood disorders and other illnesses receive lifesaving transfusions every day.

Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and are in generally good health may be eligible to give blood.

The Red Cross wants to remind blood donor’s to bring their donor card or some other form of positive ID when coming to donate.

Eligible blood donors are asked to please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to find a blood drive and to make an appointment.