(NEWS CENTER) -- The Red Cross supplies about forty percent of the blood used in hospitals and medical clinics across the country. A blood transfusion can be the difference between life or death in many cases. But what if the blood you need has to be transported from hours away? One hospital in Bangor is now taking on the responsibility of becoming a blood overstock hospital.

Saint Joseph Hospital has agreed to be the new overstock hospital for the Red Cross in Bangor- a life saving new responsibility. This means the hospital will carry extra blood from the Red Cross. The original blood overstock center in town started taking blood from a different distributor, giving Saint Joseph's the chance to take on the new opportunity. The hospital will now be responsible for supplying blood to three to five hospitals in Northern Maine when needed. The most important part about that new responsibility is that the blood will get to those northern hospitals faster than it would before.

Toni Oellette-Dupuisist of St. Joseph Hospital said, "The Red Cross Maine Distribution Center is located in Dedham, Massachusetts. So obviously it would take a very long time to get blood from there. And when a hospital in Millinocket or in Houlton needs to have blood, they don't want to wait more than two or three hours for it, which is what we can supply them."

The hospital says it didn't need to take on any additional staff for this change, but has made sure it's prepared when the calls come in from the northern hospitals. Along with extra blood, Saint Joseph's now supplies red cells, plasma, and platelets as well.

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