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Red Cross Opens Expanded Facility On West Side

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago cut the ribbon on its expanded facility this morning at 2220 W. Harrison in the Medical District on the West Side.

Among the highlights of the new blood services facility:

*The ability to store as much as 67 percent more units of blood and plasma than previously (3700 units versus 2350).

*A still under-construction reference lab that will make it easier to track down and supply rare types of blood

*And a new blood donation bus that’s been in operation since October 2012.

Fran Edwardson, CEO of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago points out that only one-sixth of the blood supplied to Chicago area hospitals by the Red Cross actually comes from Chicago area blood donors. She says, “We’re trying to change that”.

Blood, most often comes from the American Red Cross’ blood centers in Peoria and in the Madison, Wisconsin area, according to Raul Mora, Director of Manufacturing for the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago.

Mora says the new expanded storage facility will be a big help. Units of blood are now stored in containers on wire racks in a walk-in refrigerator in a 22 x 14 foot room. Mora says blood used to be stored in stand-up refrigerators with see-through doors, like the kind you see in grocery stores.

Mora says the Red Cross chapter services nine hospitals in the Chicago area, including Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Rush University Medical Center, the University of Chicago Hospitals and Loyola University Medical Center.