Blood Bank of Delmarva has declared a blood emergency as supplies have dropped to critical lows after donations declined and demand increased over the Labor Day weekend. The organization is asking people across the state to donate blood to help replenish the supply.
Donated blood is perishable, and in order to maintain a safe supply, a seven-day inventory of all blood types must be continually replenished. Right now, reserves are at 50 percent of optimum levels. Companies, organizations and community groups are encouraged to step up to host a blood drive to help rebuild the blood supply.
Michele Hart-Henry, vice president and chief operating officer of the Blood Bank of Delmarva, said, “Summer blood shortages often come to a head on Labor Day, when families leave town for vacation. And although blood reserves generally return to normal as kids head back to school, it is essential that people continue to donate blood before and after a holiday to ensure we can continue to supply our local hospitals with the blood they need.”
Although all blood types are needed, the need is especially critical for type O blood donors. O negative donors are considered universal. Their blood type is needed most readily in trauma situations, and emergency rooms across the country cannot survive without it.
In just 60 minutes, a person can donate one pint of blood and save a life. About one in seven hospital admissions requires a blood transfusion, and with a limited shelf life, supplies must be continually replenished. Those in need include cancer patients, newborn babies and their mothers, transplant recipients, surgery patients, chronically transfused patients suffering from sickle cell disease or thalassemia, as well as accident, burn or trauma victims, and many more.
There are many ways to help. People can donate blood or platelets at a donor center, donate at a mobile blood drive or host a blood drive in the community. They can promote the need for blood donors on social media, educate others about blood donations and encourage family members, friends and colleagues to donate themselves and/or host a blood drive.
To make an appointment online and search for a local drive, go to https://donate.bbd.org.
BBD serves all the hospitals in the Delmarva Peninsula with donor centers in Dover; Christiana; Chadds Ford, Pa.; and Salisbury, Md. Donors are urged to walk into any centers, or to make an appointment, call 1-888-8-BLOOD-8.