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Blood supplies dwindling in state, says Red Cross

Severe winter weather in Vermont and elsewhere in New England and the Middle Atlantic regions not only affected local economies, it has also endangered the lives of our most vulnerable citizens thanks to dwindling blood supplies locally.

The Red Cross in Vermont has issued an appeal for blood donations to meet all hospital needs and to respond to emergency traumas where large quantities of blood are needed.

According to the American Red Cross here, most of the eastern half of the United States in recent weeks has seen the cancellation of more than 14,000 blood and platelet donations. The ARC is urging all eligible blood donors in Vermont to help boost the blood supply back up to normal levels.

"The winter storms have made a huge impact on the local inventory management system, which can typically move blood products to where they're needed most. In fact, we have not seen the blood supply drop this dramatically at this time of year over the past ten years. Maintaining sufficient blood to meet patient needs is a delicate balance between supply and demand," said Dr. Richard Benjamin of the ARC.

The need for blood is constant. Every two seconds a patient in the United States needs a blood transfusion. Blood is perishable and has no substitute, Benjamin said.

All blood types are needed, especially type O negative, to ensure a reliable supply for patients, he noted.

Individuals should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when coming to donate.

To locate the nearest blood donor site near you, call 802-660-9130 or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). You can also visit redcrossblood.org for me details.

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