Red Cross stops drawing Juneau blood

Posted: Friday, May 12, 2000

JUNEAU (AP) -- The American Red Cross plans to stop drawing blood from donors in Juneau because it can't retain nurses.

The Red Cross will continue to supply blood to Southeast hospitals. Lana Tolls, who directs the organization's Southeast Alaska chapter, said area residents donated 2,300 pints of blood last year.

''My major concern was this was something the community really liked,'' she said. ''It gave people an opportunity to give their blood back.''

But it was hard to keep a nurse on staff, and expensive to find and train replacements, said Trudy Sullivan, chief operating officer for the American Red Cross Pacific Northwest Regional Blood Services in Portland, Ore.

Meanwhile, freight costs also rose $30,000 this year, moving the Juneau outpost from a borderline break-even operation to a money-loser, Sullivan said.

''As a nonprofit, we have an obligation to ensure we're doing things that make sense,'' Sullivan said.

The Red Cross stopped collecting blood in Anchorage about two years ago because of similar problems, she said.

The blood collection service is due to end by June 30. However, the organization is working with Bartlett Regional Hospital to find a way to continue a special service that lets people planning to have surgery donate their own blood.

''We clearly want to maintain that program in town,'' said Sheryl Washburn, Bartlett's patient care administrator.

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