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Holidays, Midwest storms disrupt blood donations; Types O and B needed locally, says Red Cross


The American Red Cross is critically short of blood types O and B positive and negative and needs donations as soon as possible, the agency said yesterday.

For about three weeks, blood supplies in the Greater Chesapeake and Potomac region have been below normal. The usual holiday decline in donations was accompanied by the unavailability of blood supplies from the stormy Midwest, said Patrick Smith, a Red Cross spokesman.

"It's a domino effect," said Smith. "The storm kept many people from giving in the Midwest and that left us without a safety net, which we usually have. Chapters in Norfolk [Va.] and Philadelphia, however, have helped out."

Blood shortages have been reported throughout the country, with many of the nation's chapters having only a day's supply of blood, according to the Red Cross.

The Red Cross, with a half-day supply instead of the normal three days, has had to ration blood to area hospitals, Smith said.

The Greater Chesapeake and Potomac region serves 83 hospitals from Annapolis to Frederick and from Dulles Airport in Virginia to Gettysburg, Pa.

Prospective donors are asked to call 800-GIVE-BLOOD to make an appointment at an area blood center.

The six centers in the metropolitan area are: Baltimore, 4700 Mount Hope Drive, Seton Business Park; Bel Air, 2021 Emmorton Road; Columbia, 10400 Little Patuxent Parkway; Glen Burnie, 30 Greenway Ave.; Towson/Lutherville, 1134 York Road; and White Marsh, 7939 Honeygo Boulevard.

Pub Date: 1/12/99

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