Red Cross to Delay Closure of Blood Donation Center in Albany
Southern Blood Services Region
Center to Close June 30, 2012. Blood Drive Operations Will Not Be Impacted.
ALBANY, Ga. - The American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region announced today that it has decided to delay the closure of its blood donation center in Albany to June 30, 2012.
“The American Red Cross is committed to providing the safest and most reliable blood services to patients in need,” said Randy Edwards, chief executive officer, American Red Cross, Southern Blood Services Region. “The decision to delay the closure of our Albany blood donation center is in an effort to help ensure that we can achieve this commitment in light of the current challenges with our blood and platelet inventory levels.”
This summer, the Red Cross experienced one of the worst blood shortages in more than a decade. Blood and platelet collections were further disrupted in September by flooding, Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and other severe weather in many areas of the country. Typically, the blood supply would begin to stabilize in September and October with the addition of high school and college blood drives, which account for more than 20% of blood donations each year. However, that has not yet occurred.
Like many companies and non-profit organizations in the current economic climate, the Red Cross must regularly evaluate its business operations to determine where it can control expenses. This year has been no exception. The Red Cross review indicates that the current blood donation center in Albany is a costly operation in need of upgrades, and the location is no longer ideal for donor growth.
“We will continue to assess opportunities to relocate the Albany center,” said Edwards, “but any relocation would also come at a significant cost, as a new facility would need to be upfitted to meet regulatory and compliance requirements.”
While multiple blood drives are held in the Albany community on a regular basis, Edwards stated that the Red Cross would continue to implement strategies over the next few months to help ensure there are ample blood donation opportunities for existing donors. These strategies include establishing routine blood drive locations in the Albany area and researching opportunities to collect platelets at blood drives.
“There are a few Red Cross blood regions that collect platelets at their mobile operations. One of our goals will be to determine how their operations are set-up and see if we have the ability and equipment needed to achieve that here in Albany as well,” said Edwards.
Edwards stated that the Red Cross has been overwhelmed by the tremendous outpouring of support for the blood donation center from the Albany community. He hopes that these committed donors will continue to give blood at their community blood drives after the blood donation center has closed its doors next year.
There is a constant need for donors of all blood types. The Southern Blood Services Region needs approximately 1,200 blood and platelet donors each weekday to supply more than 120 hospitals throughout Georgia, including Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, Tift Regional Medical Center, and South Georgia Medical Center.
Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and are in generally good health may be eligible to give blood. For more information on blood donations or to schedule an appointment, please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org.