Stormy Weather Has Led To Blood Shortage

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It has been snowstorm, after ice storm, after snowstorm so far in 2014, causing propane gas shortages and salt shortages — and now a nationwide blood shortage.

Recent winter storms and freezing temperatures have forced the cancellation of nearly a thousand blood drives in 33 states, including Connecticut.  That means about 33,000 lost blood and platelet donations. That’s  equivalent to if the Red Cross had closed its doors nationwide for two days.

The need is urgent for blood donors, especially those with type O-negative blood, a universal blood that can be used during emergency situations when a patient’s blood type is unknown.

And more snow is expected to hit Sunday.

The New York blood center is trying to make sure area hospitals are stocked.

“What we like to do is try and keep five days of inventory of all blood types, and we had dipped below two for type O-negative, which is when really when the flags go up,” said Rob Purvis, vice president of the New York Blood Center. “So I would say now we’re kind of entering recovery stage. So because people have responded as well as they did yesterday and today, if we get a good push through the weekend, we will be back up to where we want to be.”

Bad weather is always an obstacle for blood drives, but this year is one of the worst in recent memory. Storms have affected not only Connecticut and New York, but as far south as Georgia and Alabama.

If you can donate you should. To learn about upcoming drives across Connecticut, click here to visit the American Red Cross website.

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