Just one year after there were so many blood donors that the waiting line was a block long, there is a critical shortage of the "gift of life" nationwide, as donors have seemingly disappeared.
Inova Blood Donor Services, the primary supplier of blood to 11 hospitals in the Washington Metropolitan Area, is encouraging everyone to give blood. Some categories are down to less than a one-day supply, according to Inova.
"Last Sept. 11, approximately 710 units of blood were collected on that day alone. And, more than 2,000 units were collected that first week after the attack," said Kathleen Thomas, media relations manager for Inova Health System. "Now it's a struggle to collect the 200 units we need on a daily basis to ensure a safe and adequate supply."
To accentuate the crisis, Alexandria mayor Kerry J. Donley donated blood this week. But to avoid these critical situations, every eligible person needs to become a regular donor, according to Thomas.
"Blood of all types is in extremely short supply throughout the region," said Mayor Donley. "I can think of no better way to remember the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks than to give blood. I encourage every citizen who can to call Inova Alexandria Hospital and make an appointment."
Potential donors may make appointments by contacting the following centers:
* Inova Alexandria Hospital
4320 Seminary Road
Monday and Wednesday - noon-8 p.m.
Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday - 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
* Inova Mount Vernon Hospital
2501 Parker's Lane
Monday through Thursday - 4-7 p.m.
ELIGIBLE DONORS may also call 1-866-256-6372 or schedule an appointment on the Inova Web site at www.inova.org/donateblood.
Recent donor travel restrictions imposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have also had a negative effect on blood donations, according to Thomas. This has particularly impacted this area due to the high incidence of foreign travel by military and government employees.