Blood shortage misses Colorado

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As hospitals elsewhere delay surgeries because of worries over blood stock, a blood supplier serving Craig's hospital says shortages haven't hit Colorado.

"We're not in that critical condition," said Adelaide Naughton, communications manager with Bonfils, a non-profit independent blood center in Denver.

Bonfils is just one organization which makes up the American Blood Center -- one of the nation's two dominant blood banks -- which along with the American Red Cross have raised warnings this week about dwindling blood supplies.

Some hospitals are working with a day's worth of blood inventory, while about 50 percent of those facilities supplied by ABC have less than two days, the Knight-Ridder News Agency reported Tuesday.

January is a traditionally slow time for blood donations, made worse this year with recent winter storms in some areas, according to ABC.

"We've been asked to share blood product with other centers," said Naughton, whose organization exclusively supplies blood for The Memorial Hospital and 89 other Colorado hospitals.

Naughton said the state's blood supply is in good shape primarily because of a consistent base of just over 100,000 donors.

"In a crisis we would have a five-to-seven day supply," she said.

But national shortages coupled with the expansion of many Colorado hospitals and population growth means more blood will be needed this year, she said.

"We're going to need between 3,500 and 4,000 units per week," Naughton said.

Bonfils collects blood at nine facilities around the state and through community blood drives. Bonfils' mobile units will collect blood in Craig next month, Feb. 11, and return April 22, June 17 and Oct. 7, according Pam Thompson, TMH's community relations director.

Paul Shockley can be reached at 824-7031 or at pshockley@craigdailypress.com

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