Local hospitals in need of blood - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Local hospitals in need of blood

July 18, 2007

Albany--  More than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day in the United States.

Unfortunately, during the summer fewer people are giving the gift of life.  As a result, Georgia is having to look to other states for help.

Sixty percent of the population in the US is eligible to donate blood. However, only five percent actually do so on a regular basis.

During the summer, however, is when donations are needed the most because that's when most accidents and injuries tend to occur.

The American Red Cross is urging people take the time to donate. Thomas Parris has been donating the gift of life since 1965. "This is the 149th time," says Parris.

And he gives quite frequently. "It's usually every four to five times a year," says Parris.

He's one of eight million people to donate blood yearly.

"It feels great to be able to donate blood and possibly save some body's life," says Parris.

But during the summer fewer people are donating, and Georgia has to rely on neighboring states for help.

"Our biggest supporter as far as imports is South Carolina and they're in as bad as condition as we are, so we can't get anything imported," says Andrea Tatum with the American Red Cross.

Andrea Tatum with the American Red Cross in Albany says there's a reason for the low blood donations during the summer.

"People everywhere are busy vacationing, visiting, and not donating," says Tatum.

Statistics show that approximately 1200 people need to donate blood each weekday to meet the needs of hospital patients in about 130 hospitals located across the southern region. That's not happening, and the lack of donations is hurting area hospitals.

"You're sparingly sending one to one place and holding off sending to another place just incase. So everybody is trying to hold on to what they have," says Tatum.

But the Red Cross can count on one reliable donor, Parris, to continue to give. "I set my goal for 160 units, which is 20 gallons," says Parris.

And he encourages others to donate that much needed life saver as well. "Get out and give blood!"

About 4.9 million patients receive blood every year in this country.

If you're interested in donating, you can call 1-800-GIVE-LIVE to arrange an appointment in your area.

All blood types are needed--but especially type O blood because it can safely transfused to patients with any blood type.

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