The American Red Cross is appealing for blood donations, saying its supply has reached emergency levels after 50,000 fewer donations than expected so far this month.
The Red Cross said Tuesday that it needs donors of all blood types. But it said there's a particular need for O positive, O negative, B negative and A negative to meet expected patient demand.
The Red Cross' Massachusetts region is seeking to collect more than 6,500 units of blood over the next two weeks. It says donations are running 10 percent below expectations for June.
A Red Cross spokeswoman, Donna Morrissey, says the organization is taking drastic measures.
"We have had to cut shipments to hospitals across Massachusetts," she said. "We are monitoring the inventory very closely, and we'll take it day by day."
The Red Cross said it believes many regular donors haven't given yet because they've gotten an early start on summer. It also said the fact Independence Day falls mid-week has reduced the scheduled number of blood drives.
With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom
This program aired on June 25, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.