Hospitals often keep several units of O negative, which is often referred to as a universal donor blood type, on hand for emergency trauma patients whose blood type is unknown.
Mike Frigon of United Blood Services in the Rocky Mountain Region says that an increase in traumas and a reduced amount of donations could explain the current shortage of O negative blood in the area. He says people should consider giving on an ongoing basis to prevent these shortages.
“I just can’t stress enough that if you’re eligible to donate regardless of your blood type, but especially if you’re O negative, please donate every single time you’re eligible to donate,” says Frigon, “please do not just donate only when you hear there’s an urgent appeal.”
Local blood drives supply the regional blood banks, which, in turn, provide local hospitals with blood as needed. Frigon says giving means a relatively small time commitment for a lot of impact.
“That whole process takes a good hour, but, you know, that’s just a small time frame when you consider that you’re helping to save three hospital patients lives,” says Frigon.
Only six-percent of the population has type O negative blood. Frigon says that you can locate blood drives in your area through the group’s website at www.unitedbloodservices.org.