Blood supply low again - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Blood supply low again

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May 21, 2008

Albany -- It's a critical time for the Red Cross. There's less than a one day supply of O Negative and B Positive blood.

Those are the universal types most used by hospitals in emergencies. Recent storms in Atlanta and Macon have further depleted the supply.

Wiley Evans of Fitzgerald is preparing for knee surgery. For the second time he has driven to Albany to donate blood to be used in his surgery in two weeks, so he will not take any from the blood supply.

"They gave me the opportunity to have my blood drawn, and I said maybe that will help out some people, and make sure I will have good blood," Evans said.

That's a good idea. The American Red Cross says there has been a steep decline in donations. Severe storms and their damage in Macon and Atlanta have made the problem worse.

American Red Cross Southern Blood Service Region Communications Specialist April Phillips says, "The recent storms in the Central part of the state really did impact the Red Cross's Blood Donation efforts. We lost at minimum 200 to 300 units from the storm."

The blood banks hold just a day or less supply. Add to that many colleges and schools are out for the summer, so donations have slowed dramatically, right when the Memorial Day holiday could increase demand.

American Red Cross Team Collection Supervisor Lena Thomas said "Usually because there are many accidents during a holiday, especially the first holiday of the summer."

So the American Red Cross is putting out a plea for donors.

"We desperately need people to come in and donate blood before they go on vacation," Thomas said.

South Georgia hospitals say they have good supplies of blood on hand, and elective surgeries have not been canceled. Wiley Evans says other people need to give, even if they are not facing surgery.

The American Red Cross donation centers in Albany and Valdosta will be open this Saturday and Memorial Day, because your help is needed.

The American Red Cross Southern Region needs 1200 blood donations everyday to supply more than 130 hospitals.

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