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Red Cross needs more blood

Recent natural disasters and increased blood usage over the last holiday weekend have caused the supply to drop at the Tri-State Region Blood Services of the American Red Cross.

Monday, September 27, 1999

Recent natural disasters and increased blood usage over the last holiday weekend have caused the supply to drop at the Tri-State Region Blood Services of the American Red Cross.

Blood donations have remained low since August, and inventories are rapidly dwindling, said Cheryl Gergely, Tri-State supervisor of communications.

"We’re attributing the shortage to three things," Mrs. Gergely said. "First, since mid-August, we’ve had lower than required collections. We need 240 units of blood a day, and we have been collecting much less than that."

Having smaller numbers of donors does not allow the agency to build up its supplies, Mrs. Gergely added.

"As fast as it comes in and we test it, it goes out," she said. "We’re sitting at a one-day supply for most of our blood types. And the Labor Day holiday made the situation worst. We had an increase in usage, but not an increase in donations."

The third reason the area is experiencing such a shortage is the aftereffects of Hurricane Floyd, Mrs. Gergely said.

"Red Cross has a national sharing system," she said. "And any excess in the national system is going to those areas that need it the most. There’s none left to import to our region. We’re low and we have been remaining low this past week."

All blood types are needed, but there is an especially critical need for types O positive and O negative, Mrs. Gergely added.

"O positive and O negative are universal blood types, so they are very important," she said.

In an attempt to fill this need the American Red Cross scheduled a bloodmobile to be at the Ironton Moose Lodge Saturday.

And members of the Loyal Order of the Moose and the Women of the Moose said they plan on making this blood drive a permanent feature of their community service plan.

"We’re going to do this every two-to\-three months," said Kay Murdock, senior regent of the Women of the Moose.

By noon Saturday, the blood drive had only netted 13 donors, but Red Cross officials also hope others will schedule an appointment at the King’s Daughters’ Medical Center facility to start an upward climb in donations, Mrs. Gergely said.

"It takes just about an hour from start to finish to donate blood," she said. "The actual donation takes anywhere from nine to 15 minutes. We encourage people just to walk in to donate for the bloodmobile, and bring a friend. They can bring a friend with them to provide moral support and additional donors."

Tri-State Region Blood Services supplies blood to 29 different hospitals in the West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky areas.

Anyone who was not able to make it to the bloodmobile may call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE to set up an appointment to donate at the King’s Daughters’ Medical Center facility in Ashland, Ky.

To be a blood donor, individuals must be at least 17 years old, weigh 105 pounds or more, be in good general health and not have donated blood within the past 56 days.

Donors can give blood even if they are currently taking most medications, including insulin and high blood pressure medications, if their medical condition is stable.