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Giving Blood Throughout Country

Aired September 12, 2001 - 01:26   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN ANCHOR: Well disaster relief agencies say they're rushing blood supplies to New York City and to Washington as well. People have been jamming donation centers to help the untold number of victims of these attacks.

The American Red Cross says it has 60,000 units of blood in several east coast cities that it can ship to hospitals in New York City and Washington. Even people on the other side of the country, in Los Angele, have been lining up at blood donation centers.

Authorities say they will continue to need donations, though, over the next two weeks. Even longer, we're hearing now, perhaps even a couple of months to replenish their supplies.

Officials say the most needed blood types: O positive, O negative. They are the universal blood types that can be transfused into anyone in an emergency.

Now, at hospitals throughout the New York area, medical heroics are going on. Michael Okwu is standing by at St. Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center, which is one of the trauma centers closest to the World Trade Center. Michael, go ahead

MICHAEL OKWU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Colleen, they call this the city that never sleeps, and I'm sure that tonight in New York no one is doing that. And yet despite that, there is a very eerie silence that's broken across this city tonight, as you can well imagine, only occassionally broken by the sound of emergency medical vehicles.

I'm standing in lower Manhattan, Just south of 14th Street. And as you look just north of me, you can see that police have set up barricades, so that no one can come below this part of New York City, and it limits traffic to this part of New York City to just the occasional emergency medical vehicle and to police vehicles.

I'm standing just about two blocks west of St. Vincent's Hospital, which has been set up as the main trauma and triage center here in New York. As of 10:30 last night, which was the time of the last hospital press conference, officials at St. Vincent's Hospital said that there 327 patients that had been admitted, 50 to 55 of them were in critical condition. They also reported, of course, that there were three deaths.

Most of the victims, they say, had suffered from severe burns, most of those burns had been burns that were sustained in the face. There were occasional cases in which patients suffered from cardiac arrest, some from existing conditions, which were of course triggered by this trauma.

Now, Governor Pataki was here earlier at St. Vincent's, and he reported that he met with victims as well as some of the doctors who worked on some of the patients here. He said that every story seemed to be an unusual one. You can imagine, there are no usual stories tonight.

For the most part, the scene outside the hospital looks like this: Dozens of men and women in scrubs, under portable lights, waiting basically. Gurneys that have been set up, wheelchairs, office furniture covered in sheets as they await more victims, more people who's lives they are hoping to save.

That's what the scene looks like outside St. Vincent's Hospital tonight. And what I have to report is probably one of the most eerie nights that I've spent in the city. The hospital says that they will have another briefing later this morning at 6:30. Back to you.

MCEDWARDS: All right, Michael Okwu. Thanks very much.

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