Blood supplies remain dangerously low

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 12, 2004

GREENVILLE – The bad news keeps getting worse.

Despite successful drives last week at Metal Tech in Murfreesboro and the Ahoskie National Guard Armory, local American Red Cross (ARC) representative Ernie Smith said blood supplies remain dangerously low.

&uot;If supplies are not replenished very soon, surgeries will continue to be cancelled and patient care may be compromised,&uot; said Smith who works out of the ARC’s Eastern North Carolina Blood Center in Greenville.

Smith said that as of Jan. 9, two blood types – O positive and B positive – were listed at emergency levels, meaning there was less than a one-day supply. Blood types A positive, O negative, A negative and B negative were listed at restricted levels, less than a three-day supply.

&uot;The demand for blood is by far exceeding the donations we are currently receiving,&uot; noted Smith. &uot;Please, if you are able to give a pint of blood, take note of the upcoming blood drives in your local area and make plans to attend. Who knows, the life you save with that one donation may be that of your next-door neighbor, a friend or a family member.&uot;

The following blood drives have been scheduled in the Roanoke-Chowan area over the upcoming seven-day period:

N Wednesday, Jan. 14 from 12:30-6:30 p.m. at the Gates County Community Center, U.S. 158 east of Gatesville, adjacent to Gates County High School.

N Monday, Jan. 19 from 2:30-7 p.m. at Ridgecroft School, NC 11 north between Ahoskie and Murfreesboro.

N Tuesday, Jan. 20 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Roanoke-Chowan Hospital.

In addition, Smith has received confirmation that three other local blood drives have been scheduled for February. They are as follows:

N Sunday, Feb. 1 from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. at the Carpenter’s Shop Church in Ahoskie.

N Monday, Feb. 9 from 2-7 p.m. at Galatia Baptist Church in Northampton County.

N Monday, Feb. 23 from 12 noon until 6 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Ahoskie.

&uot;We really appreciate the efforts by those there in the Roanoke-Chowan area to help us address the blood shortage,&uot; stated Smith. &uot;We have the blood drives scheduled at different times throughout the area; now we just need people to show up and donate.&uot;

According to national data, the ARC saw a steady decline in blood donations throughout the country during 2003 where only five percent of the eligible population took part in blood drives. Compound that fact with the current wave of flu, a virus that has eliminated thousands of potential donors, as well as weather related issues and one can easily see why supplies are dangerously low.

Anyone at least 17 years of age, weighing at least 110 pounds and in good health may give blood.

Those needing additional information can contact the ARC Regional office at 1-800-544-1819.