Low Blood Supplies May Mean Less Hospital Service

St. Louis, Mo. – Red Cross officials say the blood supply in the St. Louis area has dropped so low, hospitals may have problems treating patients.

The flu and persistent winter weather are being cited as two reasons for the shortage. American Red Cross spokeswoman Nicole Traycoff says the present supply is not sufficient to handle the bi-state area's demands. "Right now the supply of O-negative, which is our universal blood type and which is most often used in emergency situations, is critically low and is standing at less than a one-day supply," Traycoff said. "Optimally we like to have three to five days of the supply for the hospitals."

Traycoff adds Sunday's snowfall caused several high schools, which provide a crucial supply, to cancel blood drives; more snow is expected Wednesday.