Red Cross: Blood Supply Low in Northwest

Thursday, September 16th 2004, 10:49 am
By: News On 6

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ American Red Cross supplies of two blood types commonly used for transfusions are at a critical shortage, the organization said Wednesday.

The Red Cross, which supplies 80 hospitals in Oregon, Washington and Alaska, had less than one day's supply of O-positive and 36 units of O-negative. A normal reserve of O-negative is 282 units.

The Red Cross said the shortage resulted in hospitals being unable to supply blood to some patients.

The O-blood types are in demand because they are universal, meaning they can be transfused into patients in an emergency room before a blood type test is conducted. The O-types are also those most often transfused into infants, according to the Red Cross.

The nonprofit has issued what it calls a ``Red Alert'' for blood donors of these types.

``A Red Alert is the strongest message that we send to the communities we serve and is used only in situations when the blood inventory has reached its most critical level,'' Joan Manning, director of Pacific Northwest Regional Blood Services, was quoted as saying in a news release from the Red Cross.

``We are calling on all eligible Type-O donors to immediately schedule a blood donation appointment to help us ensure that trauma, cancer, and premature infant patients receive the lifesaving blood they need when they need it,'' he said.