The local Red Cross is making its perennial summertime plea for blood donations as overall supplies stand at about a day and some hospital shipments are being cut.
Some shipments to 23 hospitals served by the Toledo-based Western Lake Erie Region of American Red Cross Blood Services were curtailed or even eliminated starting Wednesday, local Red Cross spokesman Annie Marckel said.
Yesterday, supplies of O positive and A negative were at a half day or less, while inventories of O negative, A positive, and B positive were at about a day, Ms. Marckel said.
O negative is especially precious because it is the so-called universal blood type that can be used on trauma patients and substituted for others, she said.
"Inventory is very low, and we're not able to catch up at this point because it's so low," Ms. Marckel said.
In hopes of encouraging local blood collections, donors through Sept. 28 can enter to win a Harley-Davidson 105th Anniversary Edition Sportster 1200C from Napoleon Harley-Davidson. The bike will be awarded during the Napoleon dealership's HOGtoberfest event on Oct. 4.
Last year, when blood shortages cropped up in early June, donors had the chance to win a 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt donated by Dave White Chevrolet in Sylvania.
Typically, the Red Cross wants a three-day supply of each blood type on hand, but collections drop in summer because school is out and people are on vacation.
The local region serves 11 counties in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, and neighboring Red Cross regions in Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Fort Wayne, and Lansing also are facing low blood supplies, the agency said.
All American Red Cross regions are facing low collections, and critical problems also have cropped up in the Southeast and West, said Molly Dalton, national Red Cross spokesman.
Various steps may need to be taken, such as making direct-mail pleas to donors, Ms. Dalton said. "We're watching it very closely," she said.
Donors must be at least 17, weigh at least 110 pounds, be in general good health, and provide a valid photo identification.
For more information about the Harley-Davidson giveaway or local blood drives, go to givebloodtoday.org or call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE.
Contact Julie M. McKinnon at: