All patients at home and abroad must rely upon the generosity of volunteer blood donors who altruistically donate through a variety of organizations, which include not only the American Red Cross but also a multitude of independent blood centers across the nation that comprise the national group of America's Blood Centers.
Virginia Blood Services (VBS), headquartered in Richmond, is a nonprofit organization that has served the patients of central Virginia as an independent blood center since 1974. With that background in mind, we are concerned that the message of this article, with bold introductory lines that minimize the need for volunteer blood donations, may have unintended consequences on the regional blood supply.
The blood supply in the United States is one of the best in the world. While there is an increasing national concern that the supply of this limited resource may not be able to keep pace with the escalating demand, the shortages that Dr. Spiess describes are not accurate. Virginia Blood Services strives every day to meet the needs of the patients served by many hospitals throughout the region, such as Virginia Commonwealth University, so that patient care is not compromised. In the area served by VBS, more than 380 donations are needed every day. We sincerely hope that the patients whose lives depend on transfusions will not be harmed by a decline in volunteer blood donations as a result of misconceptions arising from this article.
We are proud of the acclaim that all VCU researchers, including Dr. Spiess, bring to the greater Richmond community. We hope that Style Weekly will make it clear that for now and several years to come, patients who require blood transfusions to sustain or improve their quality of life must continue to rely on the generosity, selflessness and, yes, heroism of those who give the gift of life by rolling up their sleeves to donate blood. Janice K. Jesse, M.D.
Virginia Blood Services
We misidentified Carol Avery's son in Cue, Style Weekly's Fashion Quarterly ("Carytown's Beautiful Additions," Off the Rack, Aug. 24). His name is Hudson. Style regrets the error.
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