Blood donation shortage endangers lives

By Kyra Hall

There can be no doubt that blood is crucial for all sorts of medical procedures. Victims of accidents and diseases and people in need of any kind of surgery are constantly drawing upon blood donated by selfless individuals to organizations like the Red Cross and the United Blood Services. This summer, there has been a dire shortage of blood donations that will lead to many lost lives. The Red Cross has reported that they are going to come up approximately 50,000 donations short this month. There has been much speculation as to the cause of the sudden drop in donations, but the fact remains that this trend is worrisome for many medical professionals. A standard donation of 1 pint of whole blood has little effect on the person who gives it, but it can save the life of the person that will later receive a lifesaving transfusion.

Not all people can give blood. There are many different factors that might also make a person ineligible to donate, such as having recently been tattooed or having been to a foreign country where blood diseases are common. Thirty-eight percent of Americans are eligible to donate and can safely donate whole blood three times a year, but only a portion of them do. According to the Red Cross, the most commonly requested blood type is O because it can be given to a person of any blood type. All other types of blood are also needed despite the fact that they can only be given to a patient with a compatible blood type.

Many people cite a fear of needles for not donating blood and still others simply cannot find time to schedule an appointment. In light of the fact that blood cannot be manufactured and is in such high demand, eligible donors should consider it their duty to donate blood whenever possible. If you are an eligible donor or if you think you might be, go to the Red Cross or United Blood Services websites and schedule an appointment. Unless everyone does their part, countless people who might have been saved will die because of lack of available blood.