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BMC Launches New Bloodmobile
December 9, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BMC Moves to Increase the Blood Supply in the Berkshires

PITTSFIELD, MA – In order to improve the blood supply for patients in Berkshire County, Berkshire Medical Center has purchased a bloodmobile, providing local residents with access to donate blood at many locations throughout the area. The BMC Bloodmobile is a state-of-the-art vehicle with three blood drawing stations. The BMC Blood Donor Center, which operates the Bloodmobile, and the American Red Cross are committed to increasing the supply of blood in the area, keeping donated blood in the Berkshires for use in local patients and aiding in efforts to decrease the cost of blood.

“All blood donated at the BMC Bloodmobile will be used locally for patients at Berkshire Medical Center and Fairview Hospital,” said Terry Bills, Administrative Director of the BHS Lab. “We transfuse nearly 4,000 units of blood products to approximately 2,000 patients each year, and the Berkshires, like all other regions of the United States, regularly experiences blood supply shortages. It’s estimated that of the 300 million people living in the US, 180 million are eligible to give blood, but only 5% do. The shelf life for red blood cells is 42 days, which means the blood supply has to be constantly replenished.”

The BMC Bloodmobile will seek to collect approximately 15 units of donated blood each day, stopping at locations throughout the county four days a week, Mondays through Thursdays.

“It is always advantageous for our entire Berkshire County community when the Red Cross and Berkshire Health Systems come together to collaborate,” said Kathleen Phillips, Executive Director of the Berkshire Chapter of the Red Cross. “In this case, Berkshire Medical Center and Berkshire County Red Cross will team together to increase the overall number of individuals who donate blood, increasing the available blood supply for patients. By teaming up, the blood programs of these two great organizations will be improved. It's the epitome of a win-win proposition.”

The BMC Blood Donor Center is accredited by the US Food and Drug Administration, American Association of Blood Banks, College of American Pathologists, Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and the American College of Surgeons. The BMC Bloodmobile is staffed by a Registered Nurse, Phlebotomist and a driver, and is equipped with the appropriate climate control systems to store donated blood.

Approximately 38% of the population has O-positive blood and 34% has A-positive, with the remaining six blood types more rare. Only 1% of the population is estimated to have AB-negative blood. There is no successful substitute for human blood, which makes blood donation vital to the community.


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