Blood donors desperately needed - especially if you have type O blood

Here’s how you can donate locally

A shortage of blood and blood products has reached a critically low level in Illinois and across the U.S., with type O blood especially needed, according to news releases from the American Red Cross and Versiti.

Versiti has less than a day’s worth of blood to supply its 86-plus hospital partners in Illinois and is currently down more than 40% in donations while the need has increased by 10%, Versiti’s release said.

Some of this increased need for blood is related to an increased number of emergency room visits due to trauma and some is due to people simply catching up on elective procedures they postponed due to the pandemic, the release from the American Red Cross said.

“Some hospitals are being forced to slow the pace of elective surgeries until the blood supply stabilizes, delaying crucial patient care,” Chris Hrouda, president of Red Cross biomedical services, said in the release.

Type O positive can be transfused to Rh-positive patients of any blood type and type O negative is the universal blood type and is often given in emergency situations when hospital staff have no time to determine a patient’s particular blood type, the news release from the Red Cross said.

However, all blood types are needed.

Platelets are also needed and must be transfused within fives days of donation, the release from Versiti said. Cancer patients receive approximately half of all platelet donations.

Versiti Blood Center of Illinois has a donor facility at 2625 W. Jefferson St. in Joliet. Visit donate.illinois.versiti.org and click the “Schedule to Donate” tab.

Or schedule an appointment to give blood or platelets as soon as possible by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Denise M. Baran-Unland

Denise M. Baran-Unland is the features editor for The Herald-News in Joliet. She covers a variety of human interest stories. She also writes the long-time weekly tribute feature “An Extraordinary Life about local people who have died. She studied journalism at the College of St. Francis in Joliet, now the University of St. Francis.