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|Area blood supply depleted|
LifeShare Blood Center officials say the community's blood supply has been reduced to critical levels following hurricanes Gustav and Ike.
The organization is now calling on residents in northeast Louisiana to donate blood to replenish the local blood supply.
LifeShare Blood Centers is the exclusive provider of blood for patients at 139 medical facilities throughout north Louisiana.
The organization began an emergency blood drive Monday at its locations in Monroe, West Monroe and Ruston. Community recover blood drives will be held daily to replenish the local blood supply.
LifeShare Blood Center's Phillip Thomas said the organization depends on residents to donate blood to keep the local blood supply at healthy levels.
"Having a sufficient community blood supply is as vital as having clean, safe-to-drink water," said Thomas, a donor resources coordinator. "The difference is that blood can only come from the caring people of our community who voluntarily give blood to replenish the community's blood supply."
"We have to take care of each other during this recovery period," Thomas continued. "One way we can do that is to add blood donation to the top of the list of urgent things to do to get our community back to normal."
All blood types are needed. Platelet donors are also needed to provide enough platelets for critically ill patients during a time of lowered collections. Platelet donors are asked to schedule an appointment with LifeShare Blood Centers as soon as possible. Platelets are one of the most fragile blood components needed by patients. Platelets are viable for five days, so if platelets donations go uncollected there is a high risk of running out, Thomas said.
Donors will receive a mini-physical prior to the donation procedure, including a check of temperature, pulse, blood pressure and iron level. Potential donors must be age 17 or older, weigh at least 110 pounds, feel well and healthy at the time of donation, eat a good meal and increase fluid intake prior to donation.
Donors will be asked to present identification. For more information and to schedule a blood donation or blood drive, call 322-4445.
The Monroe center, located at 2909 Kilpatrick Blvd., is open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The West Monroe center, located at 207 Blanchard St., is open from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.