The refrigerator at the Red Cross in Farmington is down to two shelves of O-negative blood. That's a concerning level for hospitals like St. Francis, that rely on that supply every day in the emergency room.
"Every summer there’s always a shortage of blood due to the fact number one traumas are up and supply is down partly due to the fact people are on vacation and aren’t giving blood like they normally do," said Dr. Steven Wolf, Director of Emergency Medicine at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center.
An O-negative blood supply is important because it’s the universal donor. That means any patient coming into the ER can receive it, which makes all the difference in emergency situations.
"You can go from no blood to 20 to 30 units depending on what’s going on. So the problem is having the amount, the supply ready for you when you do need it," explained Dr. Wolf.
Area doctors, the Red Cross, and even the Governor are now calling for people to give blood.
In a telephone message, Governor Jodi Rell said, "Patients need blood every day, sometimes unexpectedly. That patient could be someone you know or love. In fact, that patient could be you."
Donations are needed all year round because blood has a short shelf life.
"It’s real important for the public to continue to give blood throughout the summer because it’s not like you can store all this blood in the winter months and use it in the summer," said Dr. Wolf.
As an incentive, the Red Cross is giving coupons for free Friendly's ice cream to anyone who donates in the months of July and August.
To donate, visit www.givelife.org.