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FILE— During Trauma Awareness Month in May, the American Red Cross urges eligible donors to help patients with traumatic injuries and other serious medical needs by donating blood or platelets.

SALT LAKE CITY — During Trauma Awareness Month in May, the American Red Cross urges eligible donors to help patients with traumatic injuries and other serious medical needs by donating blood or platelets.

According to the National Trauma Institute, trauma accounts for approximately 41 million emergency room visits and 2.3 million hospital admissions in the U.S. annually.

“A single car accident victim can need as many as 100 units of blood,” Nick Gehrig, communications director for Red Cross Blood Services, said in a statement. “In trauma situations, when there’s no time to check a patient’s blood type, emergency personnel reach for type O negative red blood cells and type AB plasma.”

O negative red blood cells and AB plasma can be transfused into any patient, regardless of blood type, making donors with these universal blood types an important part of the Red Cross trauma team. Less than 7 percent of the population has type O negative blood, and only about 4 percent of the population has type AB blood.

Platelets may also be needed to help with clotting in cases of massive bleeding. Because platelets must be transfused within five days of donation, there is a constant — often critical — need to keep up with hospital demand.

Blood and platelet donors of all types are currently needed. Those who come out to donate blood or platelets by May 14 will have a chance to win one of three $1,000 gift card shopping sprees from GiftCertificates.com.

Donation appointments can be scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767).