Blackout may result in blood shortage -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Blackout may result in blood shortage

August 18, 2003

(Atlanta-AP) -- The effect of last week's blackout may mean a shortage of blood this week in Georgia hospitals. The American Red Cross Southern Region will not be able to rely on other regions to export blood products because any surplus will be sent to cities affected by Thursday's power outage.

Summer is usually a time for shortages because people are on vacation.

Candice Gulden is a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross Blood Services Southern Region. She says blood products now are most needed in the Northeast and Midwest. The areas affected by the outage were unable to collect blood Friday, and they can't use blood collected Thursday until testing is completed -- which requires electricity.

About six hours worth of blood demands was on hand as of Friday for dozens of metro Atlanta hospitals that rely on the Red Cross. The Southern Region issued an emergency appeal for donors.

The greatest need is for "universal" type O blood. Representatives of the city's major hospitals said they had enough blood to get through the weekend and that no elective surgeries or emergency room needs had yet been affected.

For more information, call 1-800-448-3543. Blood donors must be at least 17 years old, in good health, and weigh at least 110 pounds.

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