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Red Cross experiencing 'severe' blood shortage, urges people to donate

Red Cross is urging donors of all blood types, especially type O and those giving platelets, to make an appointment to give blood.

MAINE, USA — Editor's note: The above video aired on June 9. 

The American Red Cross said it is experiencing a nationwide severe blood shortage, as the number of trauma cases, organ transplants, and elective surgeries rise.

It is urging donors of all blood types, especially type O, and those giving platelets to make an appointment to give blood, as soon as possible.

The organization said hospitals are responding to a high number of traumas and emergency room visits, as well as overdoses and resulting transplants.

The Red Cross said it has seen demand from trauma centers climb by 10 percent in 2021 compared to 2019, which it said is more than five times the increase of other facilities that provide blood transfusions.

"When seconds count in emergency trauma situations, it's the blood already on the shelves that can make the difference in lifesaving care," Dr. Jorge Rios, Medical Director of Red Cross Northern New England Region, said. "As many people begin to enjoy travel and time with loved ones again this summer, patients are relying on the generosity of donors to help ensure they have access to the treatment they need. Please consider blood donation as a summer activity that can help save lives."

The Red Cross said from now through June 20, donors will receive a $5 Amazon gift card via email.