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Red Cross issues emergency call for blood donations

As people get wrapped up in vacation and other summer plans, they are not donating blood, resulting in a shortage at hospitals.

The American Red Cross has issued an emergency call for blood and platelets to help replenish the supply.

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Blood donations have fallen short of hospital needs for the past few months, resulting in about 39,000 fewer donations than what's needed, the organization said.

The Independence Day holiday may also have caused many regular donors to postpone donations. More than 75 percent of donors surveyed in a recent Red Cross poll said they had vacation plans this summer, many of them occurring the weeks before and after July 4.

"Right now, blood products are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in, which is why we are making this emergency request for donations," Nick Gehrig, communications director for Red Cross Blood Services, said in a statement. "Donations are urgently needed now to meet the needs of hospital patients in the coming days and weeks. If you've thought about giving blood and helping to save lives, now is the time to do it. It's the blood donations on the shelves that help save lives when an emergency occurs."

To schedule an appointment to donate, use Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

The Red Cross is extending hours at many donation sites.

amcdaniels@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/ankwalker

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