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Red Cross Discloses That Much Donated Blood Will Be Destroyed

A front page story in yesterday's Washington Post revealed that Red Cross officials collected hundreds of thousands of blood donations knowing that the blood could not be used for victims of the terrorist attack on September 11. They also knew that unfrozen blood has a shelf life of 42 days, and that there was no FDA-approved plan for freezing large quantities of donated blood. As a result, the Red Cross and blood banks across America will end up burning a large amount of donated blood in order to destroy it.

This is the latest in a series of troubling revelations about the management of the American Red Cross. The difficult part of reading these reports is understand which of them are legitimate criticisms and which are exaggerations. For instance, the Washinton Post emphasizes the amount of blood product likely to be destroyed, while the Red Cross places it emphasis on the fact that many blood donations will be used for platelets and plasma instead of whole blood. This information and more is available in the section of the Red Cross's site that discusses how donations made in the aftermath of the terrorist attack are being used.

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