May is Trauma Awareness Month, and the American Red Cross urges donors to give blood or platelets to help ensure that lifesaving blood products are available for trauma patients and others with serious medical needs.
Each year, trauma accounts for approximately 41 million emergency room visits and 2.3 million hospital admissions in the U.S., according to the National Trauma Institute. A single car accident victim can need as many as 100 units of blood.
In Missouri, more than 400 units of blood are collected every day from area blood donors. The Red Cross collects and provides more than 50 percent of the blood used by patients treated in Missouri hospitals and provides blood to approximately 2,600 hospitals nationwide.
When there isn’t time to determine a patient’s blood type, type O negative blood and type AB plasma are what emergency personnel reach for because they can be given to patients with any blood type.
Less than 7 percent of the population has type O negative blood, and only about 4 percent of the population has type AB blood. Donors with these blood types are an important part of the trauma team and are encouraged to donate as often as they are eligible.
Donors of all blood types are currently needed. Blood donation appointments can be scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required when checking in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent 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.
Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.