a special program of the National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA)

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Week: 592.2 

Guest: Dr. Richard Davey, Chief Medical Ofcr., American Red Cross 

Topic: Blood shortage 

Host/Producer: Steve Girard 

NEMA: Facing a blood shortage...coming up... 

SPOT: IN A FLASH... a video with structured curriculum tells kids the truth about gunshot injuries. For schools, churches, community groups... Call 800-332-6362. 

NEMA: Collecting blood is serious business, just ask American Red Cross Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Davey....  

DAVEY: We collect about 12 million units of blood a year. The Red Cross collects about 45% of that, or between 5 and 6 million units. So...and almost all of that blood is used..only a small percentage of that is discarded for one of several reasons. But we transfuse almost all of that material, and matter of fact, much of it is made into components that can help two or three...or four patients from every single donation.  

NEMA: But on the national level, are we at a low point in blood supply and donation?  

DAVEY: We find that in the summer months, especially, that blood donations decrease somewhat...and we, this has happened both locally, as you said, in the Washington area, but also nationally....we’re experiencing a shortage. It’s probably because people are on vacation, they have other things on their minds...schools are closed, and that eliminates a source of donors for us over the summer. So, by the time Labor Day rolls around, out blood supplies are often quite marginal. And we are having a significant problem now in about 25 of our 38 blood regions, in terms of our supply.  

NEMA: You can help by donating blood this week. Call 1-800 GIVE LIFE to find the nearest blood donation center. I’m Steve Girard at The Heart of the Matter.