ST. PETERSBURG - Florida Blood Services announced Tuesday that the Tampa Bay community had responded to its call for O negative blood.
"Our community responded in a great way, by donating blood," JB Gaskins, FBS vice president, said in a press release. "Three hundred and thirty six of the 1,261 blood donations given yesterday in the Tampa Bay region were type O negative, which represents 27 percent of all collected units. This significantly helped build our inventory for O negative back up to where it should be most of the time for our area," said Gaskins.
Mondayís shooting of police officers in St. Petersburg depleted Florida Blood Services' reserves of universal donor type O negative blood, which were already low. FBS put out a call for help.
The Tampa Bay community responded to this tragedy by rolling up their sleeves and donating blood in honor of these public servants, the press release said.
"With only 7 percent of the population having type O negative blood the high turnout by these donors reflects their understanding of the critical need for their blood to be on the shelf at all times" said German Leparc, MD, FBS chief medical officer. "Blood donors are part of the first response team and can take pride in knowing that trauma blood was available to give these officers a fighting chance."
Two St. Petersburg police officers were shot and killed and a U.S. Marshal was wounded while attempting to serve an arrest warrant at a St. Petersburg home Monday morning.
Bayfront Medical Center ordered 18 additional units of type O negative blood after the shooting, which drained what already were low reserves at Florida Blood Services' main distribution depot, according to a press release.
"Homeland security guidelines require that a five to seven day supply of blood be available at all times to respond to crises when they occur," said Don Doddridge, FBS CEO. "As our community's blood center it is our responsibility to maintain our local safety margin before we are able to help other areas of our nation. The winter storms up north have caused severe blood shortages and with the vital support of our donors, we will now be able to respond if called upon."
Generally, healthy people age 16 or older who weigh at least 110 pounds can be blood donors. There is no upper age limit. Identification is required prior to donation.
For further information, please call 1-800-68-BLOOD (25663).
Prospective donors can go to www.fbsdonor.org, enter their zip code and find bloodmobile and neighborhood donor center locations and hours.
Headquartered in St. Petersburg Florida, FBS provides over 350,000 blood donations to patients at over 100 hospitals and other ambulatory healthcare facilities throughout 42 Florida, Georgia, and Alabama counties, through the participation of volunteer donors.