Bad weather, low collections put blood supply in peril

UAB hosts a major blood drive the week of Sept. 12-17, to boost blood supplies weakened by earthquakes, hurricanes and flooding.

The recent spate of bad weather, coupled with low summertime collections, has left the Alabama blood supply in a perilously low state, say blood supply officials at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the American Red Cross.

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“We are down in all types of blood, particularly type O,” said Marisa Marques, M.D., the director of UAB transfusion services. “The east coast earthquake, Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and even the Texas wildfires have played havoc with the usual collection schedules across the country while increasing need. Summertime usually sees low collection rates, but the past month and a half has been especially difficult.”

UAB and the Red Cross are holding a blood drive the week of Sept. 12-17 at the UAB Hospital North Pavilion, second floor atrium. All blood types are needed.

Hours are:

Monday, Sept 12              10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 13            10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 14       10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 15           10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 16                7 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 17           10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Donors should bring a photo ID.  Free parking is available in the North Pavilion parking deck.

UAB is one of the largest users of blood nationally supplied by the Red Cross. Donors can give blood up to six times a year, every eight weeks. The overall process takes about 45 minutes. The actual blood collection usually takes less than 20 minutes.

Blood products are used during surgery, transplantation, trauma care, difficult pregnancies and cancer treatment. It is not unheard of for a single patient to require as many as 100 units.

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