Southeastern Connecticut Chapter

Blood Services
Blood collection by the Red Cross began in 1941 as a volunteer program to provide blood for American and British troops in World War II.  The public response was enthusiastic, and after the war the Red Cross continued to collect blood for civilian domestic use.

Today, there are nearly 14,000 paid staff and volunteers who work for the American Red Cross Biomedical Services.  Nearly six million volunteer blood donations are made to the Red Cross each year making the Red Cross the nation's largest blood supplier.  The Red Cross also provides tissue for nearly one quarter of all transplantation surgeries.  Additionally, the Red Cross develops, tests, and implements training programs in areas such as the operation of sophisticated blood testing laboratories and the selection of donors.

The Safety of Blood
The Red Cross enhances blood safety by questioning all blood donors about their medical history and their risk behavior.  Each blood donation is tested for infectious disease, including hepatitis and HIV.  As a safety precaution, the Red Cross maintains the only national registry of ineligible blood donors and checks each donor against this list - before allowing each donor to give blood - to ensure the safest possible blood supply.

The Red Cross operates the largest, most prestigious blood research laboratory in the world, staffed by world-renowned scientists.  Each year, the Red Cross oversees dozens of scientific research projects, both basic and applied, to improve the safety, purity, and efficacy of blood.

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