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Louisiana blood bank caught in federal shutdown crisis

January 9, 2019
The government shutdown is stifling blood donations during what is generally an already critical period for blood banks. (Jan. 9)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The partial federal government shutdown is causing problems for a New Orleans blood bank that serves more than two dozen hospitals in Louisiana and southern Mississippi.

The Blood Center had to cancel two recent drives at or near federal government agencies because employees who normally would have donated blood have been furloughed, center spokesman Paul Adams said Tuesday. He said the cancellations come during a month when blood donations are historically low.

“Now, two may not sound like a lot, but two could mean the lives of 30, 40, 50 different people,” Adams said.

The nonprofit relies on area businesses to host blood drives, often holding them at federal government buildings or areas with a lot of federal government employees. Adams said the government facilitates the blood drives and employees are often willing to donate.

The center is scrambling to find other locations to hold their blood drives, Adams said.

“With the shutdown going on, we’re forced to look at other community organizations, churches, schools — all of these different groups — we’re now reaching out to say, ‘Hey, can you pitch in and help out?’” he said.

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