ATLANTA – The physical devastation of Hurricanes Gustav, Hanna and Ike is matched by another consequence that is more subtle though no less important — the impact on the nation’s blood supply.
In many communities around the country, with blood supplies already low, the American Red Cross has seen its efforts hindered, halted or re-routed by the recent storms and subsequent flooding and power outages. Storm damage, flooding and power outages have caused the cancellation of blood drives in affected areas, and many blood donors have been unable to keep their donation appointments. Prolonged power issues could mean thousands of units of lifesaving blood might not be collected.
Meanwhile, the Red Cross has activated its national network to move blood from other communities to assist hospitals in communities affected by the storms and other emergencies. The Red Cross has provided hundreds of blood products to hospitals in Texas in the wake of Hurricane Ike and to trauma hospitals in Los Angeles for the train crash survivors. Many of these blood units were type O, the type most often used in emergencies.
The result is a shortfall between supply and demand that must be made up so patients who need blood will not be placed at risk. To this week’s cancer patients and accident victims, who may require anywhere from one to 40 units of blood, that loss is significant.
Please call the American Red Cross today at 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or visit givelife.org to schedule a blood donation appointment or to learn about other ways you can help the hurricane relief efforts.