Blood Supply Safety

November 11, 1994 • Volume 4, Issue 42
Is the nation's blood supply safe enough?
By Richard L. Worsnop

Introduction

The nation's blood supply is safer than ever, blood-banking officials say, and industry critics generally agree. But the critics also say it's not as safe as it could be. And many Americans, fearful of contracting the AIDS virus, remain wary of receiving transfusions. Increasing numbers of people facing elective surgery now give blood in advance that is earmarked for their exclusive use. At the same time, researchers report progress in developing taint-free artificial blood with a long shelf life. Still, there will always be a need for natural blood, especially in times of emergency. But Red Cross officials say that the nation's pool of donors has been steadily shrinking, and that this winter, once again, blood stocks will dip to perilously low levels.

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