Red Cross blood supplies at emergency low levels nationwide - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Red Cross blood supplies at emergency low levels nationwide


The American Red Cross has put out an "all points bulletin" across the country: blood supplies are at emergency-level lows.

The Red Cross said it has received 50,000 donations fewer than expected in the month of June. The organization has half as many blood supplies right now as it did one year ago.

The Red Cross said the dip in donations may be due to unseasonably early warm weather jump-starting people's summer activities and taking them out of the routine of giving blood.

Lulls like this make blood banks appreciate regulars like Alice Errthum. Monday afternoon, this Franciscan sister showed up at the Dubuque Red Cross location to donate her O+ blood. She has donated blood every eight weeks for more than 30 years.

"It's just one extra way that you feel like you can help people, and it's important to help people," Errthum said at the blood donation center. "They'd be happy to take volunteers any time."

According to the Red Cross, every two seconds, somebody in the US needs blood.

"The Red Cross is calling on all eligible blood donors - now more than ever - to roll up a sleeve and give as soon as possible," the media release said. "All blood types are needed, but especially O positive, O negative, B negative and A negative in order to meet patient demand this summer."

The Red Cross isn't the only organization short on blood. Paul Spivey is president and CEO of United Clinical Laboratories, which staffs Dubuque-area hospitals' blood banks. He said there's always a dip in donations during the summertime.

"Not too long, we're going to get to the July Fourth holiday. People are going to take Wednesday off and have a good time, traveling, visiting family, getting out on the water. That's not the time, traditionally, that people think about going down to their local blood bank and donating a unit of blood," Spivey said.

Additionally, this year's mid-week Independence Day has reduced the number of scheduled Red Cross blood drives. The organization also cited businesses cutting back on hosting blood drives because employees are taking extended vacations.

Spivey said this drop in donations during busy summer travel season is dangerous.

"With all the activity on the highway and so forth, unfortunately, there are more accidents. Accidents often need blood, so we have less supply and more need," Spivey said.

People need blood transfusions for all kinds of medical procedures, including heart surgery, organ transplant and treating accident- and burn-victims, childbirth complications, cancer and sickle cell disease.

The American Red Cross Badger-Hawkeye Blood Services collects the blood products for eastern Iowa, Wisconsin and upper Michigan. It's responsible for collecting approximately 600 pints of blood per day, its CEO Greg Novinska said. Organization-wide, the Red Cross must collect more than 17,000 pints of blood daily for patients at more than 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the US.

"We need donors to make appointments in the coming days and weeks to help us ensure that all patient blood needs can be met," Novinska said in the release. "Each pint of whole blood can help save more than one life."

People wishing to donate blood or platelets can call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to make an appointment or check out more information. The Red Cross said it needs all blood types in order to ensure a reliable supply for patients.

A blood donor card or driver's license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. People who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

"There is always the chance that a physician could postpone an elective surgery if the needed blood products aren't readily available or, in a worst case scenario, have to forego a more serious procedure because of a shortage of blood." Novinska added. "Our goal is to ensure that doesn't happen."

Upcoming Donation Opportunities in Eastern Iowa


7/14/2012, 9:00 am- 1:00 pm, AmeriCorps NCCC - Palmer Building, 1004 G Avenue, Vinton


Waterloo Donation Center, 2530 University Ave.

Monday: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Thursday: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Friday: 7 a.m. - 11 a.m. (2nd and 4th of the month)

Saturday: 8 a.m. - Noon

Sunday: Closed

6/25/2012, 2:00 pm- 6:00 pm, St Edward Church, 1423 Kimball Ave., Waterloo

6/29/2012, 1:00 pm- 6:00 pm, Rydell Chevrolet, 1325 E San Marnan Dr, Waterloo


6/30/2012, 7:00 am-11:00 am, Quasqueton City Hall, 113 Water St North, Quasqueton


6/25/2012, 1:00 pm- 6:00 pm, Rockwell United Methodist Church, 303 Monroe St, Rockwell


7/5/2012, 2:00 pm- 6:00 pm, Municipal Hall, 151 W Main St, Fredericksburg


7/6/2012, 12:00 pm- 5:00 pm, Strawberry Point Lutheran Home Community, 313 Elkader St, Strawberry Point

7/9/2012, 2:00 pm- 6:00 pm, St. Mark's Parish Center, 200 Jackson, Edgewood


Dubuque Donation Center, 2400 Asbury Rd.

Monday: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m. (2nd and 4th of the month)

Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday: Closed

Thursday: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Friday: 7 a.m. - 11 a.m. (1st and 3rd of the month)

Saturday: 7 a.m. - 11 a.m.

Sunday: Closed

7/13/2012, 9:00 am- 1:00 pm, Dubuque Law Enforcement Center, 770 Iowa St, Dubuque


7/2/2012, 2:00 pm- 6:00 pm, First Congregational Church, 502 N Jackson, Charles City


7/5/2012, 2:00 pm- 6:00 pm, Memorial Building, 208 Broad St, Reinbeck


6/29/2012, 12:00 pm- 6:00 pm, Riceville Community Center, 119 W Main St, Riceville


7/11/2012, 1:00 pm- 6:00 pm, Wal-Mart, 2801 Commerce Dr, Coralville


6/25/2012, 11:30 am- 5:30 pm, Grant Wood Chapter Neighborhood Blood Drive, 6300 Rockwell Dr NE, Cedar Rapids

7/2/2012, 12:00 pm- 5:00 pm, Grant Wood Chapter Neighborhood Blood Drive, 6300 Rockwell Dr NE, Cedar Rapids

7/7/2012, 8:00 am-12:00 pm, Grant Wood Chapter Neighborhood Blood Drive, 6300 Rockwell Dr NE, Cedar Rapids

7/9/2012, 12:00 pm- 5:00 pm, Grant Wood Chapter Neighborhood Blood Drive, 6300 Rockwell Dr NE, Cedar Rapids


7/3/2012, 1:00 pm- 5:00 pm, VFW Hall, 3693 Hwy 218, Osage


7/2/2012, 2:00 pm- 6:30 pm, VFW Hall, 705 8th St N, Northwood

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