07/18/04 — Blood supply is critically low

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Blood supply is critically low

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on July 18, 2004 2:01 AM

Blood supplies are low nationwide. Local supplies are critically low, says Don Best, blood services director with the Wayne County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

He said the Carolinas Region, of which Wayne County is a part, has been able to meet the needs of all of its 106 hospitals, but that may change soon.

Types O positive, O negative and B positive have all dropped to about a day's supply, said Best.

Red Cross officials said that about 8,000 people are injured in car accidents each day. And on average, emergency rooms use between four and 40 units of blood to treat one car accident victim.

At the beginning of July, blood supplies nationwide were at their lowest, according to Best. Most of the country fell below a two-day supply, and many even fell below a one-day supply of blood.

Blood is also needed in hospitals and emergency treatment facilities for patients with cancer and other diseases, organ transplants and accident victims.

Best said the blood-donation process takes only an hour. Donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good general health.

To help encourage Wayne County people to donate, Adams Auto Wash has donated $30,000 worth of car wash coupons. The coupons for a free car wash will be given to donors at upcoming blood drives.

"We are fortunate to have corporate citizens that answer the call when there is a need in our community," said Chuck Waller, interim director of the Wayne Red Cross chapter. "As is the case most summers, we are again facing a blood shortage this summer."

This is the second year in a row that Adams Auto Wash has donated $30,000 worth of coupons to the Red Cross for use at its blood drives.

"Last year they heard of the summer blood shortage and asked what they could do," Waller said. "After doing their homework, they came back and offered a free car wash to every blood donor.

"This was a tremendous help to our blood program. Most blood donors don't do it for the car wash, but it sure is a nice gift to be able to reward them with."