BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - If you’re in an accident, paramedics will automatically give you blood from a universal O-type blood donor rather than waiting to ask your blood type.
But the O blood type is in short supply at hospitals and across the country. Blood supplies in general are down this time of year, but there was already a critical need.
“LifeSouth provides 85 percent of the blood used in the state and blood is always needed. it is a constant need for our local hospitals,” says Leah Ratliff, Donor Service Manager LifeSouth.
This week is National Blood Donation Week. Governor Kay Ivey teamed up with governors in 26 other states to declare September 5 State Blood Donation Day.
Designating Blood Donation Day helped with the shortage, but there still isn’t enough blood on the shelves. Holiday weekends usually mean there is a surge in blood use and drop in blood donations.
“There is a constant need. Although we did get a surge a blood donors yesterday, following the holiday weekend we are still in a deficit, we need donors,” says Ratliff.
You don’t need an appointment to donate, you can walk into any LifeSouth center or mobile unit to give blood. Donors need to weigh at least 110 pounds. People as young as 16 can donate with their parental permission.
“Donating with LifeSouth, you save three lives in your community, it stays with your local hospitals,” explains Ratliff.
LifeSouth also takes platelet donations in their centers. That process does require an appointment because it takes about two hours. The platelets are given to cancer patients at children’s hospital in Birmingham.
“Cancer treatments don’t just kill cancer cells, they also kill platelets,” said Ratliff. “This is how I like to donate, knowing who my donation is going to help.”
To find out how, and where, you can donate click here.