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Thursday, 21 February, 2002, 07:18 GMT
'Waste' of 11 September blood donations
American donor gives blood on 11 September
Doctors hope for a new attitude to blood-giving
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By Jane Standley
BBC New York Correspondent

Less than 1% of the blood donated in the United States in response to the 11 September attacks was actually used in treating victims.

That is according to a study released by the New England Journal of Medicine.

The doctors say a public campaign to make people donate blood regularly is needed - without emotional emergency appeals

Large amounts, it writes, had to then be thrown away - which demonstrates that the policy of calling for donations after a serious incident is misguided.

The Journal argues that organisations which publicly called for blood donations in the aftermath of the attacks misled donors.

They did not tell them that they know it is regular donations made before a disaster which save lives - not those from well-wishers who often line up for hours to give emergency supplies.

WTC disaster, 11 September
The WTC disaster prompted a rush of blood donations

Less than 300 units of blood were used to treat victims of the attacks on New York and Washington - of the more than 475,000 units donated afterwards.

And a lot of what was collected was thrown away, the Journal says.

The American Red Cross discarded 17% of what it had because it had been sitting unused on its shelves for more than 42 days.

Doctors at the Journal also analysed blood use in other American emergencies and found that, like on 11 September, extra donations were not needed.

Instead, the doctors say a public campaign to make people donate blood regularly is needed - without emotional emergency appeals.

The BBC's Jane Standley
"A long term program of donation is needed"
See also:

29 Jun 01 | Americas
US restricts blood supplies
26 Nov 01 | Health
Blood service appeals for donors
31 Oct 01 | Americas
US Red Cross stops seeking donations
07 Sep 01 | Health
'Give us UR blood'
12 Sep 01 | Americas
World offers help to US
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