Thursday, September 13, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 15


UH blood drive nets high total

By Wendy Williamson
Daily Cougar Staff

The aftermath of terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., created a high demand for blood donations nationwide.

Ironically, the UH Health Center, which holds blood drives on campus every two months, already had a drive scheduled for Wednesday.

Because of the expected high turnout following the tragedy, Wednesday's drive was moved to the lobby of Moody Towers from its usual location, a St. Luke's
Episcopal Hospital bloodmobile.

The health center's blood drives are sponsored by St. Luke's, which brings its own trained technicians and physicians to conduct the specialized process, according to
Pam Hoffmeister, chief nurse at the Health Center.

Hoffmeister said that there was such a high turnout for Wednesday's drive on campus that personnel had to reschedule many students to come back in two weeks.

Rich R. Risma/The Daily Cougar

St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital technician David Perez assists freshman history major Lily Vidal in donating blood Wednesday at the Moody Towers. UH community members gave between 100 and 125 units in the wake of Tuesday's tragedy.

Approximately 100 to 125 units of blood had been donated by 3 p.m., compared to the average 60 to 70 units usually collected during the UH drives.

Various blood centers across Houston were set up for anyone wanting to donate.

As was to be expected, many of the students and staff who donated Wednesday did so in response to the tragedy.

David Fox, a senior graphics design major, said he had never given blood before and wanted to help after the tragedy.

"I want to help out wherever it's needed, whether it goes to those in New York or to somewhere else," Fox said.

Dr. Paul Allison, medical director of the blood donation program at St. Luke's, said the blood donated at UH will not go directly to New York or Washington.

"The first thing is to get an adequate supply in Houston for the people who need it here, then when and if they need our help in New York, we'll have extra to send to
them," Allison said.

St. Luke's is one of several regional medical institutions that supplies blood for its needs only and is not licensed to transport blood nationally, according to Allison.

Others include Methodist Hospital, the University of Texas -Houston Health Science Center, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the University of Texas Medical
Branch in Galveston.

The Food and Drug Administration regulates the registration and licensing of blood centers and shipments, Allison said.

The Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is licensed by the FDA to transport blood donations across state lines. It serves more than 20 counties, he said.

The American Blood Center heads all the major transport centers. The Gulf Coast center has advised its colleagues in New York and Washington and at the ABC that
they are "ready, willing and able" to send blood if needed, Allison said.

He said he had not heard if any blood requests from New York or Washington had been made as of Wednesday morning.

He said that if and when those cities make a plea for extra blood supplies, the city of Houston would have an adequate amount to send to the Gulf Coast center to
transport to those in need.

"Technically, it could go to New York. The blood supply that would go to Houston, if we were low, could then go to New York or Washington if they ask for aid, since
we have enough," he said.

Carine Touma, a senior finance major, said she had only given blood once before in high school and wanted to try to help out after the horrible tragedy.

Touma, who found out about Wednesday's blood drive while looking up information about the terrorist attack on the UH Web site, said she had never heard about the
past drives on campus.

"I would've donated before if I had heard about the drives," Touma said. "This was a sad tragedy that affected all cultures together."

Hoffmeister said the Health Center encourages students and faculty at UH to donate blood on a regular basis, not just when there is a national tragedy. "It's very easy to do, and it's a lifesaver."

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