Red Cross Destroying 10,000 Pints of Blood
The American Red Cross this week is destroying more than 10,000 pints of expired blood donated shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, USA Today reports. In the days following the attacks, people "flooded" blood banks across the country, temporarily sustaining the nation's "chronically anemic blood banks." But because "few of the attack's survivors were in need of blood," which has a "shelf life" of only 42 days, approximately 4% of the 250,000 pints donated after the attacks will be "bagged, boxed and then burned." Blood banks usually destroy 1% to 2% of expired blood. America's Blood Centers, which along with the Red Cross collects almost all of the nation's blood donations, said that it will destroy less than 1% of its collected blood. ABC took donations by appointment, looking for donors only when a specific blood type was found to be running low. The Red Cross, however, did not limit its appeals to donors, saying "the supply was needed regardless" of the number of survivors. Jackie Fredrick, head of the Red Cross' blood program, said that even with the discarded blood, "every blood donation contributed some lifesaving byproduct." For example, plasma from each donation was frozen and subsequently used for patients with liver disease, clotting deficiencies and burns (Davis, USA Today, 10/25).