FDA inspectors found more than 200 safety violations
by the Red Cross. And as CBS News Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson
reports, many of the violations were offenses the Red Cross
has repeatedly been ordered to fix.
The Red Cross shipped infected blood, failed to screen out
risky donors, even some who admitted having HIV, and lost
track of more than a thousand units, including small amounts
infected with HIV or Hepatitis C. And some Red Cross employees
were told to skip safety steps or falsify records to allow
infected blood to be released.
Despite years of violations, the Red Cross has insisted things
can't be that bad because not many people are getting sick
But the new FDA report finds the Red Cross failed to adequately
investigate infections to even determine if bad blood was
One man got deadly hepatitis C from a transfusion with infected
Red Cross blood - but only found out after he forced an investigation.
He told CBS News the Red Cross couldn't have cared less about
what went wrong.
When he notified the Red Cross that he had gotten hepatitis
C from their blood, the response was apathetic.
"They told me that certain publications I could read
about hepatitis C," he says.
Even Red Cross workers told FDA inspectors there's a "culture
to hide problems" meaning they'd been instructed to "falsify
documents ... to hide mistakes" and feared retaliation
if they reported problems.
In response to the latest FDA findings, the Red Cross says
it "understands more work needs to be done to further
strengthen our processes" and they're committed to working
with the FDA "to enhance our systems." The Red Cross
has also just beefed up its work force on quality, and promises
to improve employee training.
But some critics say the charity has broken repeated promises
to fix the blood supply and argue it's time for a radical
"The FDA needs to, if not take over, heavily oversee
a re-design of the blood system. And in some cases they need
to start from scratch," Paul Cololery, editor in chief
of Non-Profit Times tells Attkisson.
That's something the government apparently isn't willing
to take on, at least not now. Critics say the Red Cross is
counting on the fact that even if it's not managing the blood
supply the way it should be - nobody else is eager to have