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As demand dwindles, blood banks make big changes

1:16 PM, Oct 10, 2013   |    comments
A blood donor squeezes down to help the flow of blood while donating during a blood drive. J (Photo: The Jackson (Tenn.) Sun)
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Blood centers across the United States are laying off staff and changing their collection systems in response to a drop in demand for blood.

The need for blood has been falling since the Great Recession, when many Americans who lost jobs and health insurance canceled elective surgeries. Hospitals are also using more advanced surgical techniques that limit blood loss.

Blood centers in Indiana and Missouri cut staff this year and have taken other cost-cutting steps. Some are also holding fewer blood drives, choosing to make more targeted appeals to donors with specific blood types.

Officials say there's still strong demand for O Negative blood and other products.

Many regular donors say there's always a need for blood, and they don't plan to change their habits.