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Florida Blood Centers needs O-negative donations

By Staff | Aug 14, 2009

When accidents and other traumas occur, time can be the difference between life and death for the victims.
Whether transported by ambulance to the nearest hospital or airlifted to a special trauma center, a blood transfusion during transportation oftentimes is needed to increase the chances of survival.
In such a rush, there is no time to find out the blood type of a patient, but there is a universal blood type that can be used for all individuals, regardless of their blood type.
The blood type is O-negative. Unfortunately, only 7 percent of the population has the life-saving blood running through their veins.
That is the reason the Florida Blood Centers urges people with O-negative blood to come forward and donate for emergency uses.
Teenagers as young as 16 can donate blood. However, all donors must weigh at least 102 pounds. There is no upper age limit.
Donations of other types of blood are also needed.
“Blood donations help save the lives of people needing routine surgery, trauma patients, premature babies and cancer patients at local hospitals who depend on those donations for life-saving blood transfusion,” said Wilma Rivera, a spokesperson for Florida Blood Centers. “It could be your life. You could be in an accident. It can affect any of us.”
Donations stay in the community, according to Rivera. Every donation is usually transfused into a patient within two to three days.
Just one donation can save several lives because it is separated into components — red blood cells, plasma and platelets, clotting factors and a host of pharmaceuticals.
“Our supply of O-negative is almost depleted,” Rivera said. “The need is greater in the summer because people go on vacation. There are more accidents, and the snowbirds are gone. We loose a lot of donors in the summer.”
In addition to winter donations made by part-time residents, college students help replenish the blood supply when mobile units go to campuses, Rivera said. During summer breaks, students are gone and no longer accessible.
Florida Blood Centers has an office in Cape Coral at 601 N. Del Prado Blvd.
To make a donation at other locations, call (888) 9DONATE (936-6283). Questions of eligibility will be answered.
Eligibility questions also can be checked out at: www.floridabloodcenters.org.
Donors must be in good health, Rivera said. People suffering from diabetes, HIV and other conditions cannot donate blood.
People who had tattoos must wait a year before making donations.