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From James E. Starr

By Staff | Feb 4, 2009

What is the most crucial decision you have made today? How to successfully to complete a school or work project? Maybe the best way to juggle the family budget? Perhaps what to do about a troubled teen or an elderly parent in declining health? All are unquestionably important decisions.

What if you had to decide which patients should receive the limited blood supplies in the hospital blood bank? When supplies are critically low, as in the case of Type O negative and B negative blood following the holiday season, this possible life or death question may not be as far-fetched as you might think.

Type O negative blood is the universal blood type and can be transfused to any patient in an emergency. Yet just seven percent of the population has Type O negative blood-and they must receive Type O negative blood if they need a transfusion.

Every two seconds, someone in our country needs a blood transfusion. And too many among us assume that adequate blood supplies will always be there when we or someone we love needs a transfusion. This can only happen with the community’s support.

Although eight out of 20 people may be eligible to donate blood, only one in 20 actually donates each year. Of those who donate, most give just once a year. Yet many can donate blood every 56 days.

We urge you to make the vitally important decision to help patients in need by donating blood.

For more information, call (800) GIVE LIFE or visit redcrosslife.org.


James E. Starr, CEO American Red Cross Blood Services, Greater Alleghenies Region