By Rebecca Blatt
The D.C. area is facing a critical blood shortage and is asking for donors to come forward. The Red Cross says blood type O-Negative, the universal donor often used to treat trauma victims, is in high demand. Spokesperson Katie Turner says, without a steady supply, there are many potential complications.
"There’s always a risk that blood might not be available for somebody who needs it, and in those cases, we might start to see things like surgeries being deferred or canceled," she says.
Turner also says it's not uncommon to face a shortage when schools are out because the Red Cross depends on them for blood drives.
"The need for blood remains constant no matter what time of year it is, but when we lose part of our donor base with the high schools and colleges, and then in addition to that, people are going on vacation, they are doing summer activities, blood donation is not something that people tend to think about," she says.
Meanwhile, D.C. Councilman Harry Thomas has introduced legislation that would lower the age to give blood from 17 to 16, with parental consent.