United Blood Services in Reno asks donors to hold off
RENO, Nev. (AP) – The outpouring of blood donors in Reno has caused an overflow at United Blood Services.
The response to last week’s terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., has been ”overwhelming,” said Tom Choi, United Blood Services executive director here.
”The concern at this point is as need for blood increases and supply diminishes, those donors who came in now won’t be eligible for eight weeks,” Choi said Wednesday.
”Trying to space them out is an important part of managing this situation.”
The nonprofit organization in Reno plans to halt general blood donations for three days in each of the next two weeks to catch up on processing blood donated since last Tuesday. It also is urging people who want to donate to make an appointment for later this fall.
Northern Nevadans, like thousands of people across the country, waited in long lines for up to six hours last week to donate blood to aid victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.
”Everybody wants to donate right now because they want to do something to help,” said Alana Ladd-Ross, community relations director for the agency in Reno.
In the past five days, the agency in Reno alone has taken 1,900 donations, more than double the average.
”We’ve met our needs,” Ladd-Ross said.
”The people in New York aren’t using that much blood,” she added, as the hope for finding victims alive diminishes with each passing day.
Some 5,422 people from the World Trade Center are still reported missing.
”We want them to pledge to donate when the country needs it; the community needs it,” Ladd-Ross said. ”We’re trying to be responsible and not just draw everybody who comes in the door.”
”It’s not just Reno,” she said. ”All the blood centers are trying to get a handle on donations; slow it down enough so we don’t take too much.”
United Blood Services operates 18 centers nationwide, including those in Reno and Las Vegas.
Blood can only be stored for 42 days, officials said.
And they say the need for blood will pick up again, as it does every year, around the holidays.
United Blood Services and other agencies fear the rush of donors now will leave a void when supplies need to be replenished in a few weeks.
”We’d much rather have it than not,” Choi said. ”But we want to make sure we have it when we need it.”
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