Red Cross plea for O-blood donors

A RAPID spike in demand has severely depleted Australian Red Cross Blood Service stocks ahead of the Easter long weekend.

The urgent call has now gone out to Coffs Coast residents to give blood.

The Blood Service has just over two days’ worth of stock of the universally compatible O- (O negative) blood type that can be used in an emergency to save lives when the patient’s blood type is unknown.

Australian Red Cross Blood Service spokeswoman Kathy Bowlen urged people to give blood now to shore up stocks ahead of Easter.

“The Easter long weekend will be challenging for us with people going away. Our O- blood stocks are already at worrying levels. We aim to have at least six days’ supply available but currently we have just over two days nationally and in the two biggest states, supplies are even lower,” she said.

“The need for blood never takes a holiday. We want to bolster our blood stocks now, but we need people’s help urgently.

“One in three people will need blood in their lifetime, but only one in 30 Australians donate.”

Ms Bowlen said people should give blood even if they were not O- type.

“We are always in need of new donors, and while O- is the universal type, it is only used universally in life-threatening situations.

“Cancer patients, people undergoing surgery, pregnant women and unborn babies all require donated blood that is their own type.

“You never know when it may be a loved one in need of a blood transfusion.”

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