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Frozen Blood Set Aside Overseas for Emergencies

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2001 – DoD stockpiles frozen blood around the world in case of military emergencies.

"We use computer models to project casualties in different scenarios, and we also add some extra for redundancy," said Col. Michael Fitzpatrick, director of the Armed Services Blood Program Office.

He said about 38,000 pints is stored in Korea and Japan. The services also keep about 6,000 pints in Italy for use in the European theater and on Navy ships that might receive casualties in a conflict. The hospital ships USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy also carry frozen blood, Fitzpatrick said.

The stockpiles are based on how long it would take to get fresh blood supplies to an area in a major emergency. For instance, the Korea stockpile is larger because it would take longer to get fresh blood supplies there than to Europe.

New technology and equipment may make the system of stored frozen blood more flexible and responsive to global crises. "The Air Force, Navy and Army are working together right now to freeze additional blood at the Armed Services Whole Blood Processing Laboratory in McGuire Air Force Base, N.J.," Fitzpatrick noted.


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