Local blood bank critically low

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January 25, 2007

EVANS, Ga.---Because of an increase in critical patients in area hospitals, the Shepeard Community Blood Center says its supply is nearly wiped out.

Today, Columbia County Emergency Management held a blood drive to help out with the shortage.

Shepeard says they don't like to use the word "critical" unless there really is a shortage..and right now, they say there definitely is.

With all of our local hospitals depending on their supply, every drop donated counts.

"When we get down to the low levels like we are right now, then we really got a serious problem," said radio personality and donor Harley Drew.

"We're critically low on lots of inventories," said Jennifer Eaton of Shepeard. "If we had one critical patient of a certain type, we could be wiped out completely."

Shelves at Shepeard that are typically full stand empty.

All of the area hospitals depend on Shepeard to supply blood, and they need all types, especially O types. At time of writing there was only one unit of O- remaining.

"They are the most common types of blood, and therefore the most highly used types of blood," Eaton said.

And though some of you may be afraid of needles or may not have the time to sit and wait, folks here will tell you there's no easier way to save three lives in less than an hour.

"My uncle lived for over a year off donated blood, so I feel like it's right for me to do this in his honor," said donor David Paschal.

"When you donate, you feel so good about yourself, because you've helped three other people," Drew said. "It's easy. There's kind of a glow you feel when you walk away from your first blood donation."

A lot of people came to the blood drive, most repeat donors. But EMA director Pam Tucker says the push is really to get new donors.

Once you give blood, you can't donate again for another eight weeks. So if there was an emergency between now and then, folks who gave today wouldn't be able to help.

There's another drive tomorrow at the Roads and Bridges Department in Appling from 11 o'clock in the morning to 4 in the afternoon.

To donate, you must be 17 or over, weigh 110 pounds or more, and be in general good health.