Blood Center dry from poor turnout
By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP – Managing Editor
The Northwest Florida Blood Center is reporting a blood shortage in this area due to poor donor turnout at recent blood drives - including a Brewton community drive held in February.
According to Don Ruth with the NWFBC, the latest Brewton blood drive, sponsored by the Bank of Brewton on Feb. 6, saw less than 10 donors give blood. This adds to growing concerns about the current blood supply. Currently, the blood center is short 44 units of O positive.
The concerns are elevated due to the possibility of war in the Middle East. The center has an agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense to supplement the military's blood supply during wartime, if and when additional blood is needed. It is feared by some officials that the shortage would hinder the agreement with the military if the blood needs of the community are not met first.
While Brewton donated more blood in 2002, officials at the blood center are afraid this year's start may continue, giving the community numbers similar to 2001. Last year, Brewton residents gave 787 units of blood to the NWFBC. However, in 2001, Brewton gave only 236 units of blood to the center. In order to meet the demand of the 20 hospitals in the blood center's area, they predict that 175 units should be donated daily throughout the area.
The blood center is looking for a much larger turnout during an upcoming Brewton drive scheduled for Saturday, March 7 at D.W. McMillan Memorial Hospital, which receives blood through the center.
Those eligible to give blood must be 17-years-old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in general good health. For more information about donating blood, call the NWFBC at (850) 434-2535.