Red Cross to stop blood donations in central Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The American Red Cross says it will no longer be taking blood donations from central Arkansas starting next year but will continue providing services to other parts of the state.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the Red Cross plans to transfer its Little Rock and Russellville-based blood collections to the Arkansas Blood Institute by January.

The nonprofit says 44 of its employees in central Arkansas will be losing their jobs, though 43 will be offered equivalent jobs with the Arkansas Blood Institute.

“The Red Cross knows these changes will affect the lives of our employees and their families, and is committed to doing the most it can to help make this transition as smooth as possible,” the nonprofit said in a statement.

Red Cross Greater Ozarks-Arkansas region spokesman Joe Zydlo says the change makes sense because the Red Cross no longer provides blood to any central Arkansas trauma hospitals.

“If we can work together to help each other, great, instead of it being a competition,” Zydlo says. “Hopefully this is a good alignment, and this works out.”

The Red Cross says the change won’t affect local hospitals and patients.

Zydlo also says the change will allow the Red Cross to turn its attention to humanitarian services in Arkansas.