NRMC to host blood drive

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 19, 2000

As a critical blood shortage continues nationwide, local healthcare officials worry that one small disaster like a big car accident could wipe out their small blood supply. &uot;We’re teetering on a disaster here,&uot; said Karen Fiducia, interim CEO of Natchez Regional Medical Center. So NRMC is joining with United Blood Services to host a community blood drive Friday in the first floor classroom at NRMC.

&uot;We have an obligation to the community to take the lead in this crisis,&uot; Fiducia said.

Blood services like Mississippi Blood Services and United Blood Services based in Jackson both supply the majority of the state with blood products and say the need for blood has never been more critical.

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&uot;We can’t seem to get up to a level where we feel safe,&uot; said Dani Edmonson, public relations manager for Mississippi Blood Services.

With blood supply at Mississippi Blood Services fluctuating between 100 units and 300 units of blood over the last several weeks, the blood service skates a thin line between need and supply.

Mississippi Blood Services, which supplies both Natchez Regional&160;Medical Center and Natchez Community Hospital, said it is running at 20 percent of its need.

&uot;We should have 700 units of blood on stand-by and we have about 100 to 150 units at any given time,&uot; Edmonson said.

In a business in which 20-50 units of blood can be used in a single traffic accident, low levels are particularly dangerous, Edmonson said.

While some hospitals around the country have deferred elective surgeries, none of the Miss-Lou hospitals have had to take that step.

United Blood Services is currently on &uot;emergency appeal&uot; and is asking anyone who is eligible to donate blood to please take a few minutes and make that donation, said Susan Caine, community relations representative with United Blood Services.

Widespread cases of influenza around the country has seriously impacted the blood donor pool making every healthy donor especially important at this time, said Edmonson.

&uot;Now there are people who are willing to give and can’t, and we have workers who are willing to collect, but can’t — because they’re all sick with the flu,&uot; she said.

&uot;People have got to get out of the mentality of ‘I’ll give when they really need it,’&uot; she said. &uot;Well, we need the blood now and continually.&uot;