Red Cross closing PR blood centers
The centers in San Juan, Guaynabo, Bayamón, Ponce and Mayagüez currently supply some 52 hospitals and clinics around the island.
La Fortaleza officials and representatives from the American Red Cross were slated to meet Friday to discuss the unexpected closures, which reportedly will happen this fall.
Budget concerns were cited as the reason for the looming shutdowns, but Antonio de Vera, the executive director of the Puerto Rico chapter’s blood services, said he has not gotten word from national headquarters as the why the centers are being closed.
De Vera workers just finished collecting a record 80,000 pints (37,800 litres) this past year. He said the organization has been seeking to close the centers amid mounting translation costs.
The Red Cross will still provide other services, including bone marrow collections, following the October closures.
Puerto Rico has several other blood donation centres, including a state-owned one. Health Secretary Francisco Joglar said Friday that the center counts on more than 70,000 donors and has been operating for the past five years.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.