BUFFALO, NY - 2 On Your Side is learning more about the issues two organizations are having with blood supply shortages. One of them is local, with a specific type of blood. The other is a national shortage.
Unyts says it's heard from the hospitals it partners with in the region, and the message is clear -- hospitals need more O Negative blood, right now. O Negative blood cells can be transfused to almost any patient in need.
"This week due to traumas, we do have a higher need for O Negative donors right now, that are currently active users in some of our local hospitals," said Sarah Diina, a spokesperson for the Unyts.
Unyts says it's not sure what type of emergencies have caused the need for more O Negative. From what we've been told, the capacity for O Negative blood is low, but not dangerously low.
"We work very closely with the hospitals to make sure that inventory stays at a safe level, so it's important that we work together, we talk to each other and that we go out and appeal when needed to make sure we can supply the hospital with all they need," Diina said.
Unyts also says during the summer, especially around the Fourth of July, blood donations plummet.
"You don't have as many donors coming in the door, because of the Fourth of July holiday people taking vacations; it's just not the top of mind that someone wants to come in and donate," Diina said.
The Red Cross says over the past two months, blood donations have dipped more than expected, and the organization nationally has 61,000 fewer units of blood than needed.
"What really happens is we try to keep a five day supply on hand so now we have less than a five day supply," said Vicki Smith, the district manager at the WNY Red Cross.
So, both the Red Cross and Unyts are urging those with O Negative blood to give them a call. If your blood type is not O Negative, Unyts and the Red Cross still invite you to donate, they say the need for blood is constant and that other types of blood are always in demand.