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May 5, 1993

The Nation's Changing Blood Supply System

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, the Division of Laboratory Medicine, and the Section of Transfusion Medicine, University of Minnesota Hospital and Clinic, Minneapolis; and the American Red Cross Blood Services, St Paul, Minn. Dr McCullough was formerly the senior vice president for Biomedicial Services, American Red Cross National Headquarters, Washington, DC.

JAMA. 1993;269(17):2239-2245. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500170069036

DURING the past several years, great interest has developed in the safety of the blood supply in the United States and the manner in which our nation's blood supply is obtained and distributed. Today, this country's blood bank system finds itself in a changed regulatory environment; under considerable public scrutiny; carrying out a much larger, more complex work load; in a more litigious environment; with an organizational infrastructure in need of strengthening at a time of increasing cost constraints; and viewed by some as having inadequately responded to the issues of the 1980s. The manner and effectiveness with which the present issues in blood banking are resolved will have a major impact on the system used to obtain the nation's blood supply and the safety, adequacy, and cost of that supply. This article examines the present issues of concern in the US blood banking system and describes how the outcome