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Area medical facilities in desperate need of blood

An emergency blood drive will be held from noon to 6 p.m. on Jan. 19 at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital. There are blood shortages at medical facilities throughout West Alabama, said Susan Morris of United Blood Services of Meridian, Miss.

In addition, some people have had to be turned from blood drives because they traveled in an area where Mad Cow disease, SARS or West Nile was prevalent, Morris said.

Donors of all blood types are needed, especially O positive and O negative. "The lives of patients today may be compromised without an immediate response from the community," she said. Due to the shortage, some surgeries have been cancelled in Meridian and delayed in Tuscaloosa.

The back-up blood supply is virtually depleted. UBS is asking that residents of Marengo, Greene, Sumter and Hale County respond and give blood on Jan. 19. The blood collected will be used at medical facilities throughout the area, Morris said.

For more information, call the hospital at 1-334-289-4000.