The American Red Cross in Oregon has put out the call for donations of "O-negative blood," calling the shortage in Oregon and Southwest Washington "critical." "O-negative" is considered a universal blood type, meaning it can be given to all patients. Daphne Mathew with the Red Cross says it's vital to have O-negative on the shelf, ready to use in case of an accident.
"Over the Memorial Day weekend, we already had a decline in O Negative blood type on our shelves, and after that we had a patient who was a high user within our region. And with those two things combined, we are now seeing a critical shortage of O Negative blood, and are asking people to come in and donate," she said.
Mathew says summer is always a challenging time to gather blood donations with potential donors distracted by vacations and activities.
The "O-negative" shortage is being felt up and down the West Coast, and east to Salt Lake City. The Red Cross donation line is 1-800-RED-CROSS.
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Red Cross: Blood type explained