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Critical Blood Shortage Leads Red Cross to Call for Donors

July 14, 2008

By Renee Dudley, The Island Packet, Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Jul. 14–The American Red Cross is seeking blood donors because inventory in the region is at critically low levels, both local and regional Red Cross officials said last week.

Across the region, blood inventory levels are so low the Red Cross has been unable to sufficiently meet hospitals’ demand, according to a press release from its Southern Blood Services Region in Atlanta.

Michele Kamet, senior account manager for blood services for South Carolina, said donations decline in the summer because many people are on vacation and there aren’t any high school and college blood drives — the source of up to 20 percent of the local chapter’s donations.

Moreover, demand increases in the summer as hospitals receive more trauma patients from travel and household accidents, she said.

“The need is always there,” Kamet said. “It doesn’t take a vacation.”

Kamet said the local chapter — which distributes blood to Hilton Head Hospital, Coastal Carolina Medical Center and Hampton Regional Hospital, among others — is especially in need of O-negative, O-positive and B-positive blood types. In all, five of eight blood type inventories are at critically low levels.

The branch has been able to meet area hospitals’ demand, she said, but “we don’t have a lot sitting on shelves.”

If supply in the region gets too low, the local chapter must borrow blood from another region, Kamet said. She noted, however, that each region is supposed to be self-sufficient.

The regional Red Cross distributes blood to more than 130 hospitals.

BLUFFTON

— Aug. 6: Noon to 6 p.m., Palmetto Chapter, 59 Sheridan Park Circle

— Wednesdays: Donations can be made from noon to 6 p.m. the first Wednesday of every month at 59 Sheridan Park Circle

HILTON HEAD ISLAND

— July 24: 1 to 6 p.m., Christ Lutheran Church, 829 William Hilton Parkway

— Aug. 14: 1:30 to 7 p.m., Christ Lutheran Church, 829 William Hilton Parkway

SUN CITY HILTON HEAD

— July 21: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Pinckney Hall

HARDEEVILLE

— July 14: 1 to 6 p.m., Coastal Carolina

Medical Center

BEAUFORT

— July 26: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Best Buy, 332 A Robert Smalls Parkway

— Aug. 7: 1 to 7 p.m., Carteret Street UMC, 408 Carteret St.

DONOR REQUIREMENTS

— Be 17 years old and in good health

— Weigh at least 110 pounds

— Have a valid driver’s license

— Donations can be made every 56 days.

Call 843-757-7437 for information

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To see more of The Island Packet, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.islandpacket.com.

Copyright (c) 2008, The Island Packet, Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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