Government Shutdown 2013: Blood drives canceled

We continue to find different ways the government shutdown is impacting services some of us have taken for granted -- including blood banks.

The need is always there, but some local blood drives had to be cancelled because they were scheduled at federal sites. That has health officials at Inova looking at other ways to keep the blood donations flowing.

Government contractor Andrew Lee entered his third week on furlough. And while he spent another day away from the office, he used part of his time off at the Inova blood donor center in Sterling.

He said, "Any impact it's had on my life is a whole lot more trivial in comparison to the impact this could have on the people who need the blood, or the platelets, or the red cells."

With the help of mobile units, Inova blood services have turned government locations into temporary donation sites.

Inova's Sharon Carayiannis said, "We make it very convenient for donors to come to their workplace and we have these scheduled months, if not years in advance."

But there were lost opportunities to collect for 24 local hospitals when four federal agency blood drives were cancelled earlier this month.

"The actual number of blood products is far greater than 400, approaching 900 blood products that would have been affected," said Carayiannis.

But planning ahead, Inova did make a rare request.

"There never was a shortage, but it was with tremendous expense that we purchased hundreds of units of blood to bring them here to make sure our patients had what they needed," said Carayiannis.

Inova is making up for the projected loss of recent donations by holding other events including one this Friday at three blood donor centers. There will be a Halloween theme, and donors will receive an exclusive t-shirt.

CentreMed Donor Center
6201 Centreville Road (Route 28)
Centreville, VA 20121

Dulles Donor Center
45745 Nokes Boulevard, #160
Sterling, VA 20166

Woodburn Donor Center
3289 Woodburn Road, #010
Annandale, VA 22003

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