Editorial: Life savers

An emergency blood shortage is prompting the American Red Cross to issue an urgent call for eligible donors of all blood types — especially type O — to give now and help save lives.

The Red Cross escalated its call for blood and platelet donors after a difficult Independence Day week for donations. More than 550 fewer blood drives were organized by businesses and other community groups last week than during a typical week as individuals across the country celebrated the holiday and enjoyed summer activities. This could equate to as many as 15,000 fewer donations than needed, causing donations to now be distributed to hospitals faster than they come in.

The need for blood never abates. Every year five million Americans of all ages rely on blood and platelet donations. They are not just for emergencies. People undergoing surgery — especially heart surgery — often require transfusions of blood. People suffering severe infections, liver disease, kidney disease, cancer, or bleeding disorders also need them.

This need is especially critical for type O blood donors. Type O is the most in-demand blood type and often the first to be depleted from hospital shelves during a shortage. Type O negative is the universal blood type and what emergency room personnel reach for when there is no time to determine the blood type of patients in the most serious situations. Type O positive is the most common blood type and can be transfused to Rh-positive patients of any blood type.

There will be a blood drive at Wilton Library on Sunday, July 29, from 1 to 6:15, but there are other drives nearby sooner:

  • New Canaan — July 17, 1-6:30, Saint Mark's Church, 111 Oenoke Ridge Road.

  • Danbury — July 18, 12:30-5:30, Danbury Hospital, 24 Hospital Avenue.

  • Norwalk — July 20, 1:30-6:30, Norwalk Hospital, Maple Street.

  • Norwalk — July 27, 8-1, Norwalk City Hall, East Avenue.

To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce the time it takes to donate.

The donation that saves a life could be yours.