Why is group O blood so extraordinary?
Adequate stock of Group O blood is vital for two reasons:
1. Group O blood can usually be given to patients of other ABO blood groups
Regardless of their blood type, as the red cells in type O blood have neither antigen A nor antigen B. In medical emergencies, when urgent blood transfusions are required, there may be little time to determine a patient’s blood type.
Group O negative blood then comes to the rescue, as it can safely be
transfused to patients of other blood groups.
2. Group O blood saves the lives of newborns
Babies born with blood disorders may also require immediate blood transfusions in order to save their lives. In some cases difficulties may occur in determining the blood groups of these infants. Group O blood is therefore important in supplying this ongoing need.
Babies also need "fresher" blood than other patients. While red blood cells stored for up to 42 days can be transfused to most adult patients. Only blood less than five days old may be used for transfusion to newborn infants, or in exceptional cases when babies require transfusions wile still in the womb (intra-uterine transfusion).
Why is Group O so special?
Patients in need of a blood transfusion as part of their medical treatment rely on blood donors of all blood groups to donate safe blood regularly. Therefore, your blood is vital to those in dire need of blood.
Group O blood is often in greater demand than other blood groups, which is why South African National Blood Service (SANBS) encourages Group O blood donor
s to donate regularly.