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DoD Has Enough Blood for Contingencies, Says Official

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 28, 2001 – There is sufficient stored blood for contingency use by U.S. troops stationed in Europe and Asia, a DoD official said.

Portions of a DoD inspector general report issued Feb. 26 that studied the availability of frozen military blood supplies "have been taken out of context," said Army Col. Glen. M. Fitzpatrick, director of the Armed Services Blood Program Office.

Based on a year-long survey, the IG report noted that frozen-blood inventory shortages existed at some medical facilities in the Pacific, Fitzpatrick said.

However, he emphasized, overall supplies in the Pacific are sufficient to meet anticipated wartime needs. Also, he added, the U.S. European Command and U.S. Pacific Command have reported their frozen blood inventories are adequate to support their operational plans in support of a contingency.

Fitzpatrick said DoD officials are considering the transfer of blood from facilities with excess capacity to those that need more.

The military's frozen blood storage program began in 1984, and storage was then limited to three years, he said. Current Food and Drug Administration rules now allow DoD to store frozen blood for up to 10 years.

Fitzpatrick said all DoD blood in storage has tested negative for HIV.

"When we assess the worldwide inventory of frozen blood, it appears adequate and is adequate to meet our needs," he concluded.

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