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Director Of Red Cross Blood Services Fired

April 20, 1988

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ The American Red Cross has fired the director of blood services at its local chapter and suspending processing of blood there, two months after the office distributed blood that had failed AIDS screening procedures.

The board of the Nashville office voted Monday to relieve Dr. Kenneth Fawcett of his duties, said Max Haught, chairman of the board. Neither Haught nor chapter manager Christopher Parker would discuss the reasons for the dismissal.

Fawcett said he is not pleased about his dismissal and will discuss it later in the week.

The Nashville chapter also announced it is reorganizing its blood services operation.

″Blood donations to the Nashville region will processed by other Red Cross regional facilities″ in the meantime, said Dr. S. Gerald Sandler, associate vice president for blood services at national headquarters.

In March, the American Red Cross acknowledged it had distributed 24 pints of blood that had failed procedures against AIDS contamination or carried hepatitis B antigens, but said none was used and none actually carried the AIDS virus.

The Food and Drug Administration said the questionable blood was shipped to hospitals and laboratories by Red Cross centers in Washington and Nashville.

Initial tests showed that 10 of the units contained AIDS antibodies, but those units underwent a process that eliminates the virus, the Red Cross said.

Other units were from donors who were unacceptable because they previously tested ″false positive″ for the AIDS virus, but all the units tested as safe, officials said.

The Red Cross and FDA said at the time that investigations into the failure of blood center workers to follow standard operating procedures were under way.

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