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World Blood Donor Day highlights the importance of 'giving life' through donation

Posted: 3:50 PM, Jun 14, 2022
Updated: 2022-06-14 21:42:19-04
Houchin Community Blood Bank
Houchin Community Blood Bank, Bakersfield (FILE)
Houchin Community Blood Bank
Houchin Community Blood Bank
Houchin Community Blood Bank (FILE)
Houchin Community Blood Bank (FILE)
Houchin Community Blood Bank (FILE)
Houchin Community Blood Bank, Bakersfield (FILE)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Every two seconds someone in the United States is in need of a blood transfusion. That’s why during World Blood Donor Day and every day it’s important to donate.

“There are people in the hospital, cancer patients, burn victims, car accident victims – a lot of them need blood transfusions. So that’s why it’s important for us to always have the shelves stocked with blood,” explains Rachel Parlier, the marketing manager at Houchin Community Blood Bank.

Having that stock can make the difference in a life or death situation. That’s why Houchin is urging residents to donate blood if they can.

“World Blood Donor Day is not only a day to recognize all donors around the world and their selflessness to save lives, but it's also a day to encourage people and bring awareness to the blood shortage that is going on right now,” added Parlier.

Houchin Community Blood Bank (FILE)
Shelves of O positive blood at the Houchin Community Blood Bank in Bakersfield, Calif.

Parlier says worldwide more than 120 million units of blood are needed each year but right now their stock of blood is particularly low.

“I’ve been here for three years and this is probably the worst I’ve seen of our inventories. So the blood shortage has been ongoing, and it almost sounds like we've been crying wolf, but every time we say are in need of blood we really truly are."

If you want to donate blood, all blood types are needed but O positive and O negative are the most needed and can save up to three lives.

According to the America Red Cross, "O negative is the most common blood type used for transfusions when the blood type is unknown. This is why it is used most often in cases of trauma, emergency, surgery and any situation where blood type is unknown. O negative is the universal blood type."

"O negative donors who are CMV negative are known as Heroes for Babies at the Red Cross because it is the safest blood for transfusions for immune deficient newborns. Learn more about how you can be a Hero for a Baby."

A positive and negative and B positive and negative are helpful for trauma, burn, and cancer patients. AB positive and AB negative can help cancer and bleeding disorder patients. O positive and O negative also help burn and trauma victims.

While needles can be daunting to some, Parlier adds that you are being of service to others.

“It’s worth that small little pinch of donating, but it’s a really easy process. Takes less than 30 minutes to save three lives which you can’t do anywhere else.”

World Blood Donor Day highlights the importance of 'giving life' through donation

Parlier says because you give people life and the short process ends with a bite to eat.

“Whole blood takes only about 30 minutes and that is between screening, registration, the actual donation, and then eating snacks afterward too.”

If you want to donate blood you can make an appointment online.


23ABC In-Depth

Houchin Community Blood Bank (FILE)
Empty blood storage shelves at Houchin Community Blood Bank in Bakersfield, Calif.

Importance of O positive and O negative blood types according to the American Red Cross:

Type O Negative

  • O negative is the most common blood type used for transfusions when the blood type is unknown.  This is why it is used most often in cases of trauma, emergency, surgery and any situation where blood type is unknown.  O negative is the universal blood type.
  • O negative blood type can only receive O negative blood.  
  • O negative donors who are CMV negative are known as Heroes for Babies at the Red Cross because it is the safest blood for transfusions for immune deficient newborns. Learn more about how you can be a Hero for a Baby.
  • Only 7% of the population have O negative  blood. Due to the its versatility for transfusions, it is in high demand.  In an emergency, it is the blood product of choice. For example, just one car accident victim can require up to 100 units of O neg. Meeting the demand for O negative blood is always a priority for the Red Cross. 
  • O negative is the first blood supply to run out during a shortage due to its universality.

Type O Positive

  • Type O positive blood is given to patients more than any other blood type, which is why it’s considered the most needed blood type.
  • 38% of the population has O positive blood, making it the most common blood type.
  • O positive red blood cells are not universally compatible to all types, but they are compatible to any red blood cells that are positive (A+, B+, O+, AB+).
  • Over 80% of the population has a positive blood type and can receive O positive blood. That’s another reason it’s in such high demand.
  • O positive donors who are CMV negative are known as Heroes for Babies at the Red Cross because it is the safest blood for transfusions for immune deficient newborns. Learn more about how you can be a Hero for a Baby.
  • In major traumas with massive blood loss, many hospitals transfuse O positive blood, even when the patient’s blood type is unknown. The risk of reaction is much lower in ongoing blood loss situations and O positive is more available than O negative. Type O positive blood is critical in trauma care.
  • Those with O positive blood can only receive transfusions from O positive or O negative blood types. 
  • Type O positive blood is one of the first to run out during a shortage due to its high demand.