The month of May is Trauma Awareness Month. The American Red Cross urges eligible donors to help ensure lifesaving blood is available for patients with traumatic injuries and other serious medical needs by donating blood.
According to the National Trauma Institute, trauma accounts for approximately 41 million emergency department visits and 2.3 million hospital admissions in the U.S. annually.
“A single car accident victim can need as many as 100 units of blood,” said Jan Hale, communications manager of the Red Cross Southwest Blood Services Region. “In trauma situations, when there’s no time to check a patient’s blood type, emergency personnel reach for type O negative red blood cells and type AB plasma.”
O negative red blood cells and AB plasma can be transfused into any patient, regardless of blood type, making donors with these universal blood types an important part of the Red Cross trauma team. Less than 7 percent of the population has type O negative blood, and only about 4 percent of the population has type AB blood.
“During a trauma, the difference in saving a life can be whether there are enough blood units at the hospital that are waiting to be used on a moment’s notice,” said Patricia Williams, manager, transfusion service, Baylor University Medical Center. “Donate blood regularly and help us stay prepared at all times.”
Blood donors of all types are currently needed. Those who come out to donate blood or platelets by May 14 will have a chance to win one of three $1,000 gift card shopping sprees from GiftCertificates.com. Donation appointments can be scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).