Blood Supply Tips Into Danger Zone

donate-blood-2Recession, Winter Weather Compound January’s Blood Drain

STATE—New Jersey Blood Services (NJBS), a division of New York Blood Center, has issued an emergency appeal for blood donations.

Hospital demand for blood (needed for emergency care and surgery) has increased beyond seasonal expectations while levels of blood donation have been below forecast.  Blood supplies have dropped below the five-day safety level, and for some types of blood are at a less than two-day level. Some rationing of supply has been imposed upon the 200 hospitals served by NYBC and its regional operations, including 60 throughout New Jersey served by NJBS.

“Traditionally, donations decline during the holiday season and increased January collections are needed to replenish blood supplies,” said NJBS Executive Director Chuck Grossenbacher. “At the same time, bad winter weather may lead to the cancellation or reduced attendance at scheduled blood drives.”

The currently suffering economy has also impacted donation levels with many traditional donor groups canceling, downsizing, or postponing their blood drives to another time of year.  Additionally, with 15 percent of regional blood collection coming from high schools and colleges, winter recess contributes substantially to the current shortfall.

“Everyone has an obligation to donate blood, at least once a year, provided they meet the qualifications,” added Grossenbacher. “Nationwide, 60 percent of the population is eligible to donate, yet in New Jersey only 2 percent actually give.”

Facts About Our Blood Supply

• Ordinarily, a 5-7 day supply is required to ensure that blood is available for scheduled surgical procedures, medical treatments for cancer patients and to meet emergency or unexpected disaster needs.

• To meet local needs, New York Blood Center and its regional operations, including New Jersey, require 2,000 blood donations each day to supply the needs of 200 area hospitals.

• Approximately every two seconds, someone needs blood, and one out of three people will need a life-saving blood transfusion in their lifetime.  If all eligible blood donors gave at least twice a year, it would greatly help in maintaining an adequate blood supply.

• People can donate blood every 56 days.  Red blood cells must be used within 42 days, platelets within five days, and plasma can be frozen and used for up to one year.

• A single blood donation can help save the lives of up to three people.  Car accident and trauma victims need as many as 50 or more red cell transfusions, and burn victims can use up to 50 platelet transfusions

• Any company, community organization, place of worship, or individual may host a blood drive.

• Blood donors receive free mini-medical exams on site including information about their temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure and hemoglobin level.

• Eligible donors should be 17 year of age, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, and be in generally good health. People over 75 may donate with a doctor’s note.

To make an appointment to donate or to organize a blood drive in your community, call 1-800-933-2566. For more information, visit

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