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Hurricane Devastation Touches the Nation's Blood Supply
Date:9/22/2008

DETROIT, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The physical devastation of Hurricanes Gustav, Hanna, and Ike is matched by another consequence that is more subtle though no less important -- the impact on our nation's blood supply.

"As a community, 15% of our blood is supplied by other parts of the county. When they are impacted, we are impacted. That is why I am once again emphasizing how important it is for our community members to make an appointment now, and keep their appointment, to meet the communities' needs. This summer's blood shortages have only been compounded by these current disasters," says Southeastern Michigan Blood Services Region CEO Diane Ward.

In many communities around the country, with blood supplies already low, the American Red Cross has seen its efforts hindered, halted or re-routed by the recent storms and subsequent flooding and power outages. Storm damage, flooding, and power outages have caused the cancellation of blood drives in affected areas, and many blood donors have been unable to keep their donation appointments. Prolonged power issues could mean thousands of units of lifesaving blood might not be collected.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross has activated its national network to move blood from other communities to assist hospitals in communities affected by the storms and other emergencies. The Red Cross has provided hundreds of blood products to hospitals in Texas in the wake of Hurricane Ike and to trauma hospitals in Los Angeles for the train crash survivors. Many of these blood units were type O, the type most often used in emergencies.

The result is a shortfall between supply and demand that must be made up so patients who need blood will not be placed at risk. To this week's cancer patients and accident victims, who may require anywhere from one to 40 units of blood, that loss is significant.

A stable blood supply is important throughout the year, but during times like these your blood donation is especially important. Type O blood donors are especially needed because type O blood can be given to any patient in an emergency when there may no time to test for and match the patient's blood type.

Please call the American Red Cross today at 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or visit http://www.givelife.org to schedule a blood donation appointment or to learn about other ways you can help the hurricane relief efforts.


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SOURCE American Red Cross, Southeastern Michigan Blood ServicesRegion
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