Birds in Smith Center cancel blood drive

Web UpdateMonday, Oct. 1 7:12 p.m.

The University canceled a Red Cross blood drive in Smith Center early Monday afternoon due to the presence of several birds in the arena.

Glynnis Hope Langley, a Red Cross nurse, said Food and Drug Administration regulations prohibit donated blood from coming into contact with livestock.

“For the safety of blood, we have to make sure that it’s completely free (of contact with livestock),” Langley said. “What if saliva from a bird contaminated our equipment?”

Langley said that the onus is on the host of the blood drive to make sure the donating area is sterile enough to collect blood.

This was one of the largest blood drives attempted at GW, Donors for Life Founder Benjamin Ruder said. Donors for Life organizes blood drives with area universities.

Ruder said the drive was scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and that it was expected to come away with 230 units of blood. Langley said only 22 units were collected when the Red Cross forced the organization to end the event prematurely.

Last year Donors for Life collected more than 1,160 units of blood from the GW community.

Jason Wilson, the assistant athletic director in charge of facilities, said other events would continue as scheduled but his staff will likely contact D.C. Animal Control.

“Birds are often flying into the glass (windows) trying to get out of the building,” Wilson said.

Smaller blood drives have already been held without incident at Thurston Hall, Ivory Tower, the Law School and the School of Medicine and Health Sciences this year.

Ruder said another blood drive is scheduled for Wednesday at Duques Hall, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Additional blood drives might be scheduled to make-up for today, he added.

According to the Donors for Life Web site, a two-day blood drive is also slated for late November at Marvin Center.

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