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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Red Cross Finds Particles in Georgia's Blood Supply

Aired January 31, 2003 - 14:10   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: There is a serious blood problem here in Georgia. It is forcing hospitals to hold some units of donated blood.
CNN Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins me live with what's behind all of this -- Elizabeth.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Miles, we don't know exactly what's behind all this. What we do know is that in some bags of blood distributed by the Red Cross, they found white particulate matter.

And so this morning, the American Red Cross sent a fax to hospitals across Georgia, and the fax said "The American Red Cross Blood Services Southern Region advises the immediate quarantine of blood components in hospital inventories."

So what that means is that surgeries in many hospitals in Georgia are being canceled. For example, surgeries like heart surgeries or organ transplants are being canceled because they're afraid that they won't have the blood that they need.

Now, this isn't true at all hospitals. Some hospitals get their blood from someplace other than the American Red Cross. It's true at some of them. I spoke to one hospital that said that they had already canceled 10 to 15 surgeries, and they expected that they might have to cancel some more.

Now, they're expecting shipments of blood from out of state to replace the bags of blood that they're not supposed to use. Those shipments, according to the hospitals we talked to, have not arrived yet -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: CNN's Elizabeth Cohen. Thank you very much.

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