Local drives seek to offset blood shortages

Published 9:00 pm Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Due to the severe January weather, Alabama and the Central Gulf Coast Region have been coping with a shortage of blood donations.

American Red Cross representatives said the shortages mean people in need of blood, such as those trauma victims, surgery patients or organ transplant recipients, can be affected.

Blood drive cancellations and dangerous road conditions have caused the loss of 14,000 units of blood nationwide since the beginning of the year, said Evan Duffy, communications manager for the Alabama and Central Gulf Coast region.

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“Usually the Red Cross sees some decrease in donors’ blood supply in summer and winter. This happens because one-fifth of all volunteers are students and they are out of universities at this time,” Duffy said. “Now we need …to collect 600 units of blood a day to keep up current demand.”

The blood shortage can lead to postponements of surgeries and other treatments.

“We still have substantial amount of blood for hospitals. But we need the help of donors very much to replenish decreasing supply,” Duffy said.

.Pike County residents can contribute. Upcoming blood drives will be held on Feb. 15 from 12:30 to 4:30 pm at The Grove and on February 23, from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Troy Fire Department.

The Red Cross plans to replenish all necessary amount of blood within February. Donors must be over the age of 17, weigh at least 110 pounds and possess generally good health.