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Bush Asks Staffers to Give Blood

September 12, 2001

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Bush is asking his staff to give blood to aid victims of Tuesday’s terrorist attack. But around the country, many blood banks flooded with donors said their supplies are at capacity _ and urged would-be donors to come back in a few weeks.

``The areas hit hardest have received plenty of blood and continue to receive blood types that are most in demand, so new donors are not necessary right now,″ said Jeanne Dariotis, president of America’s Blood Centers, which supplies half the nation’s blood supply.

However, the American Red Cross supplies the other half of the blood supply and said it still was encouraging donations Wednesday, as well as future donations.

The Red Cross said so many donations have flooded in that it will begin the unusual step of freezing some blood so none is wasted. Blood typically lasts only 42 days, but because donated blood typically is used up so quickly, freezing is an extremely unusual step.

One concern is that in a few weeks, donations will drop and blood again will be needed as hospitals restock supplies used up in treating attack survivors _ who may need repeated surgeries for weeks or months. So many blood banks urged Americans to schedule donation appointments in the next few weeks, or leave their phone number so blood banks can call when they need the donation.

A day after terrorists struck the Pentagon, the World Trade Towers in New York and a plane in Pennsylvania, the White House issued a memo saying a blood donation center was opened in the Indian Treaty Room of the Old Executive Office Building next door to the White House.

``The president and first lady ask you to assist those in need by donating blood today,″ read a memo issued by the White House management office.

Donations will go to the American Red Cross chapter serving 86 hospitals in Maryland, Northern Virginia, Washington and southeast Pennsylvania.

The Old Executive Office Building is part of the secure White House complex.

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