MELROSE PARK, Ill. -- Hurricane Irene caused more than 60 American Red Cross blood drives to be canceled while at the same time injuring hundreds of people and increasing the need for blood. The American Red Cross provides half of the nation’s blood supply and has called upon the Midwest to help with the dire shortage.
Gottlieb Memorial Hospital staff, including nurses, engineers and housekeepers, rolled up their sleeves during a recent hospital drive to help provide much needed blood.
"Humans are the only source of blood, there is no synthetic substitute," said Jean Wojtanek, a laboratory manager at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital. "Medical staffers know firsthand the importance of blood in saving lives; at Gottlieb we are the first to roll up our sleeves to continue the care and give our own blood to help others."
The U.S. blood supply was already low before Hurricane Irene hit, the American Red Cross said.
"The cancellation of 60 drives resulted in a shortfall of more than 2,100 donations, and that number may rise due to damage in many areas," said Luther Harmon, American Red Cross coordinator for the Gottlieb Memorial Hospital blood drive.
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