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Blood Banks Send Out Urgent Call

Terrorist attacks spark appeal for donations

TUESDAY, Sept. 11, 2001 (HealthDayNews) -- In the wake of the terrorist attacks that devastated New York City today, area blood banks -- and those across the country -- are issuing urgent appeals for blood.

The New York Blood Center announced a blood emergency for the greater New York/New Jersey metropolitan area. Health officials are concerned that blood supplies will run dangerously low as more victims of the World Trade Center destruction are found and treated at local hospitals.

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy G. Thompson said this afternoon, "I encourage all Americans to help out in this time of crisis and donate blood. No matter where you live, your blood donation can help those in need."

For more information on how you can donate blood throughout the United States, contact your local hospital, blood bank or American Red Cross chapter.

One of the New York City hospitals treating the injured, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, had set up an emergency blood donation site by 10 a.m. today. One volunteer there said the site had been "overwhelmed" with donations by early afternoon.

"I'd handed out more than a thousand [blood donor] forms, and then I stopped counting," said Blythe King, a volunteer at the site and an undergraduate at nearby Columbia University.

Before enrolling in the school, King had been a flight attendant until a disability forced her to retire several years ago. During her time as a flight attendant, she routinely received training on how to respond to a plane hijacking.

"As soon as I heard what had happened, I came to volunteer. It's absolutely terrifying," King said.

King was far from alone. Individuals and corporations throughout the New York City area responded to the crisis in droves.

"We have been swamped with blood donors," said Judy Daniels, spokeswoman for the Blood Center of New Jersey. "We had an adequate supply until today but now we're on call."

Area corporations circulated information to their employees on where to donate blood. Many corporations also encouraged workers to leave early to donate blood and to be with their families.

What to Do: For information on how to donate blood, call 1-800-GIVE LIFE, or visit the American Red Cross online.

SOURCES: Interview with Judy Daniels, Blood Center of New Jersey; Blythe King, student at Columbia University, New York City; American Red Cross and New York Blood Center official statements
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