THE NATION is facing one of the most critical blood shortages in recent years, say spokespersons for the American Association of Blood Banks and the American Red Cross. They blame the shortages on crippling snowstorms, unusually low holiday donations, this year's particularly virulent strain of influenza, and the rising tide of violence throughout the United States.
Blood banks in a growing number of communities across the nation are issuing emergency appeals for donors to replenish supplies that have become dangerously low. The need for blood type O is especially severe.
According to the American Association of Blood Banks, Bethesda, Md, blood centers in more than 20 metropolitan areas are reporting severe shortages, and hospitals in some areas are being forced to postpone elective surgery. The association is a professional society of approximately 2400 community, regional, and Red Cross blood centers, and hospital-based blood banks and transfusion services, which together are