Urgent call for O negative blood as stocks plummet
Australian Red Cross Lifeblood urgently needs people with O negative blood to donate over the next fortnight, as consecutive long weekends threaten supplies.
Lifeblood’s own reserves of the emergency blood type – needed by accident and trauma patients – have dropped to their lowest point in 12 months.
Cath Stone, Lifeblood’s Executive Director of Donor Services, said that for the first time, nearly 40 donor centres will open across Australia on Good Friday to give all blood types a much-needed boost.
“The need for blood is often unplanned and urgent. This time of year is when many of our donors take a well-deserved break, but the next two weeks are shaping up to be particularly difficult with back-to-back long weekends for Easter and ANZAC Day.
“We urgently need 4,500 people of all blood types to book a donation before Easter Monday, and a further 7,500 through to ANZAC Day, and we need them to come back for a second donation when they are next eligible, to ensure we can keep hospital fridges well stocked,” she said.
O negative makes up 15% of hospital orders across Australia, but fewer than 7% of the population have that blood type.
“This rare blood type is in high demand because it can be given in emergency situations where a patient’s blood group is unknown,” Ms Stone said.
“It’s often stocked in ambulances and rescue helicopters to be used for trauma patients who can require huge quantities in a short amount of time.”
If you don’t know your blood type, donating is an excellent way to find out – with every blood type needed every day to help save lives.
“Blood will be needed by thousands of people this Easter weekend, including trauma and emergency patients, mums delivering babies, and people undergoing cancer treatment. A single blood donation can mean a lifetime for the person receiving it, and all it costs a donor is an hour of their time,” Ms Stone said.