Blood Bank of Alaska is calling for O negative donors

Published: Aug. 22, 2021 at 2:44 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - As the end of summer nears, the Blood Bank of Alaska is issuing an urgent call for donors, specifically O negative which is the universal donor.

According to the organization, one in seven hospital patients needs blood during their treatment and that supply is running low.

“Summer typically is a very difficult time for us to bring donors in,” said Blood Bank of Alaska CEO Bob Scanlon. “They’re busy, they’re enjoying the weather, they’re vacationing, enjoying camping and such. So it is tough to get them in, and now that we’re going into the summer months, entering into the fall, people are especially taking advantage of their last opportunity before winter to get out and about.”

Scanlon says the pandemic has created additional challenges — along with the expected summer shortage — as hospitals are seeing an increase in blood usage.

“Usage has increased approximately 14% over last year,” said Scanlon. “A lot of that probably has to do with the hospitals catching up on elective surgeries, prior to what’s occurring now with the increase in infection rate, and it seems there’s been more traumas this summer than what we traditionally see all at once.”

According to the Blood Bank of Alaska, one donation could save up to three lives. Blood can be donated at area blood centers in Anchorage, Wasilla, Fairbanks and Juneau. Appointments are recommended, but the blood bank says walk-ins are accepted for O negative donors.

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