Critical Need for Blood Donors

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April 17, 2019

The Blood Bank of Delmarva has issued an urgent appeal for the community to donate blood and platelets to help patients in need.

 

It takes more than 350 donors per day to supply the 19 hospitals throughout the Delmarva Peninsula with the blood products they need.

 

For instance, last Easter Elizabeth Kullen needed three units of O positive blood as she battled a serious illness and received exquisite care at Christiana Hospital. On Tuesday, she donated blood in BBD’s Christiana Donor Center to start the process of giving back. (Transfusion recipients can donate blood after one year.)

 

“I think back to all the people in the hospital who helped me and also to those who gave blood that saved my life,” Kullen said. “I think it’s so important to be grateful but, on top of that, I think it’s important to give back. So, I’m here donating just like those people did. It’s important that we all stand together.”

 

Blood donations are below what is needed to maintain an ideal, seven-day supply of blood. Currently, supplies for O positive and O negative red blood cells and platelets are at about a two-day supply.

 

People with the O positive blood type are in demand because they have the most common blood type in America (39 percent of the population). O negative red blood cells are always in demand because these RBCs are the universal donor that can be transfused to anyone in an emergency, when there is no time to type a patient’s blood. O negative is more rare (7 percent).

 

Platelets are the part of blood responsible for clotting and are crucial for leukemia and other cancer patients. They have a very short shelf life – only five days – because they cannot be refrigerated. Donors are needed daily.

 

Given the perishable nature of all blood products, hospitals must have access to a continuous supply to ensure all patients can receive the lifesaving blood they need when it counts. BBD is urging donors to walk-in to any of our centers or call 1-888-8-BLOOD-8 to make an appointment NOW. Donors can also make an appointment online at https://donate.bbd.org.

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