CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — The American Red Cross is putting out a call for help after the organization distributed 75,000 more donated blood product than expected in the last 90 days.
Officials said there are three big reasons for the most recent blood shortage. Demand from hospitals went up to meet the need for more emergency room traumas, organ transplants, and more elective surgeries.
Nationally, the organization said it had to raise daily donation goals by 1,000. Officials at the American Red Cross said 450 daily donations are needed in northern Ohio for hospitals to have what they need.
Earlier this week, the organization released a list of donation sites in the area. Sites can be found in the area where there is space and people who donate, on average, only need an hour. See a complete list of donation locations and dates at the end of this article.
"The fastest (donation) I've ever done was four minutes, 31 seconds," said Asha Roberts, who was working the donation drive in Cleveland Heights earlier this week.
Roberts knows firsthand how important blood product donations are to patients.
"My grandmother, she receives transfusions," Roberts said while she was working. "Her hematologist does not know why she has this random bleeding condition. It's internal."
Blood products are perishable so they cannot be stockpiled. What is donated will be used.
That short shelf life is why Catherine Pressimone donates as much as she can.
"It's about every 16 weeks," she said about her donation schedule. "I have O negative blood which I know is the universal donor." Pressimone likes that her blood donations can be given to both adults and children.
Officials recommend checking the online guidelines before donating to check eligibility. The Centers for Disease Control sets the guidelines for blood donation. Recently, the center changed the guidelines for men who identify as gay or bisexual. In early April, the deferral time for men who sleep with men decreased from 12 months to three months.
Below is a Red Cross news release with a complete list of donation sites and dates: