Blood shortage exacerbated by new restrictions

Blood shortage exacerbated by new restrictions

July 2, 2001 ABC's World News Now

LIZ CHO, co-anchor:

Mad cow disease has yet to surface in the United States, but its inf--but its impact is being felt in American medical circles. New restrictions aimed at keeping the disease out of the US blood supply could make it even tougher than ever to donate blood, and that has hospitals worried. ABC's Jim Sciutto reports.

JIM SCIUTTO reporting:

(VO) In Los Angeles, the worst blood shortage in 20 years. In New York, lawmakers asking health officials to declare a blood emergency. And in Baltimore, type O blood down to just a half day's supply.

Mr. GARY OUELETTE (Executive Director, American Red Cross): We like to keep it about three or four days' supply, and we're just not there.

SCIUTTO: (VO) Now the Red Cross stands to lose hundreds of thousands of donors this year because of new self-imposed regulations designed to protect the blood supply from mad cow disease even though there's no evidence that the human variety can be spread through transfusions. The rules will 'disqualify donors who in the past 20 years have spent six months in Europe or three months in Britain.'

Mr. OUELETTE: Safety is paramount, and we need to insure that we have a safe blood supply.

SCIUTTO: (VO) Nearly half a million donors will become ineligible, reducing the nation's supply by 600,000 pints a year. New York will be hardest hit, reducing its supply by 25 percent.

Dr. KENNETH RASKE (Greater New York Hospital Association): We need to get some material plan of getting new blood supplies into New York, otherwise people will die or unnecessarily suffer.

SCIUTTO: (VO) The changes come as blood services wrestle with an ever-growing demand.

Dr. ROSS HERRON (American Red Cross Blood Services): It's mainly a matter of modern medicine and the procedures that people do these days. Organ transplants, cardiac surgery, all that add to demand.

SCIUTTO: Here in Baltimore, demand for blood went up by 20,000 pints last year, but donations, like those stored at this Red Cross blood center, went up by only 7,000 pints.

(VO) Only 5 percent of eligible donors give blood. The Red Cross says if 8 percent give. there'd be no shortage. This year, it's launching its most expensive ad campaign ever to get the word out. Jim Sciutto, ABC News, Baltimore.

Home | News | Organics | GE Food | Health | Environment | Food Safety | Fair Trade | Peace | Farm Issues | Politics
Español | Campaigns | Buying Guide | Press | Search | Donate | About Us | Contact Us

Organic Consumers Association - 6771 South Silver Hill Drive, Finland MN 55603
E-mail: Staff · Activist or Media Inquiries: 218-226-4164 · Fax: 218-353-7652
Please support our work. Send a tax-deductible donation to the OCA

Fair Use Notice: The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of scientific, environmental, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal or technical advice.