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Reestablish blood banks

September 05, 2007

Re "Vital resource dwindles," Sept. 2

This article overlooked the fact that, from the donors' point of view, there is no such thing as a "blood bank." There once was -- the American Red Cross used to give credits to donors that could be used or transferred when the donors had need. If we want to motivate people to donate, we should resurrect that blood bank program. If the Red Cross won't do it, then hospital blood programs should. Healthcare costs could be cut for patients, hospitals and insurers by just discounting the cost of one unit of blood for each unit previously donated by that patient or by someone who designates for that patient.

Why should people who donate their money receive the benefit of discounts on their taxes when people who donate their blood receive nothing more than a good feeling? Instead of wringing our hands about people being unwilling to donate blood, shouldn't we just provide them a good reason to donate?

Eric S. Engel

Los Angeles


I give a fraction of the platelets that I would be willing to give. While little gifts are nice, the Red Cross could cater to the working community by extending the donation hours. For example, the local Red Cross stops taking donations at noon on Friday and only accepts donations one Sunday a month. The Sunday schedule is frequently filled well in advance.

D. Michael Bush

Costa Mesa


The first and last time I gave blood was in college (in Minnesota) 13 years ago.

Why only once? Because I would have to lie to participate in what I consider to be a civic duty. The Red Cross is afraid that blood recipients will be exposed to mad cow disease if it accepts blood from people like me who lived in the United Kingdom for three or more months in the mid-1990s. It doesn't matter whether or not I was a vegetarian, just as it doesn't matter whether or not homosexual men practice safe sex.

I wholeheartedly agree with the strategy of reaching out to potential Latino donors, but let's get moving on revising these criteria so that we don't have to rely on Midwesterners during the next earthquake.

Chris Morgan


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