O negative blood supply is low

The Red Cross is planning an emergency blood drive on Wednesday.
Monday, May 3, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:53 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The universal donor blood type O negative is in short supply in mid-Missouri.

O negative blood is given to all accident victims in need of blood until they arrive at a hospital and their blood type can be determined. But the O negative supply can be depleted quickly if a hospital receives several accident victims with the relatively rare blood type.

Maricia Schweiss of Jefferson City suffered serious injuries from an accident on April 21.

Schweiss, who is type O negative, is still listed in critical condition at University Hospital and has received more than 50 units of blood during her time at the hospital.

According to Jim Williams, spokesman of the American Red Cross, O negative is not the rarest type of blood, but it is rarer than others.

“We need to try to impress on people with O negative to come out and give blood,” Williams said. “We’re one more accident away from being out.”

The Red Cross in mid-Missouri is stepping up its efforts to collect more blood. Its donation center at 1511 S. Providence Road has extended its hours to 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays and 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays.

An emergency blood drive has been scheduled for Wednesday at Hickman High School. The drive will run from 7:45 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Hours have also been extended at the donation center in Jefferson City. The site has also scheduled an emergency drive for Tuesday at St. Joseph’s Cathedral Catholic Church.

“Memorial Day is around the corner, and we are trying to get the message out now,” Williams said. “More people will be traveling, and there will be more accidents.”

The Red Cross estimates that a minimum of 100 units of O negative need to be collected, as well as other blood types.

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