FORT SMITH, Ark. — Blood donation isn’t something most people associate with the holidays.
But blood banks are in need of donors more than normal this time of year.
The Arkansas Blood Institute (ABI) says it's seeing a shortage of blood bag kits for the double red cell procedure. The company that manufactures the kits isn’t able to make them right now. This form of donation allows the blood institute to get two units of red blood cells from one donor.
“There is a built-in centrifuge on it, so it actually processes it there during your donation process, so there are more bags attached to it. Which is better for testing purposes and transfusion purposes, and what that means is we are having to see more donors get the same amount of blood,” said Danny Cervantes.
Cervantes is ABI's executive director. He says it’s tough enough during the holidays to get enough blood donors and this bag shortage just adds to that. They are asking everyone to donate, but negative blood types are most in need, especially the universal blood type O negative.
Cervantes says there is no threat to hospitals at this time.
“You’re dealing with people’s lives, so if it gets to that point we will scream louder and longer and try to figure out where we can go to try to draw more donors,” he said.
Larry Guinn has been donating blood monthly since he joined the army in the 1980s and he encourages others to roll up their sleeves.
“It saves people’s lives, and it gives you a good feeling knowing you helped people. You don’t realize how important it is until you are in the hospital yourself and you need blood,” he said.
You can donate blood at the Arkansas Blood Institute in Fort Smith by appointment or by just walking in.
Baptist Health Urgent Care in Van Buren will be hosting a blood drive Wednesday, Nov. 16 from 11 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. In Northwest Arkansas, you can find locations to donate through the American Red Cross.
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