Weather Impacts Blood Donations in Tennessee

gr-55834-1-1

Stephanie Carson

Tennessee News Service

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The American Red Cross has issued an emergency call for help. The organization needs blood and platelet donors after 37,000 fewer donations than expected came in at blood banks across the nation in November and December, with nearly 100 blood drives being forced to cancel in December.

External communications manager, Joe Zydlo, says donations are critically needed so that patients can continue to receive lifesaving treatments.

“Any blood type: A, A Positive, O, O Negative, B Negative, any and every blood type is needed,” he said.

Zydlo says anyone can look online at RedCrossBlood.org and put in a ZIP code to find the nearest donation site.

According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. Needs range from burn victims to heart surgery, organ transplant and cancer treatments.

Zydlo says this is the time of year when blood donations typically are low because of the holidays, and bad weather is an additional factor that often keeps people from getting to donation sites. But the need is there, 365 days a year.

“Hospitals don’t get a vacation; they don’t get to take a holiday,” he added. “There are patients that need it, cancer patients need platelet donations, too, that’s so critical. It could be a life-threatening type of situation.”

Zydlo says about 20 percent of blood drives are held at schools, so when they’re closed, it really makes an impact.

“This is really one of two times of the year when we go into an emergency appeal, where we have this critical, emergency shortage, if you will, and it’s really impacted us,” he explained.

He says snowstorms and severe weather across the Midwest forced nearly 100 blood drives to cancel in December, resulting in thousands of potential blood donations going uncollected.