Blood Supply Takes Double Hit: Hospital Demand Up, Donation Rates Down

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STATE  — New Jersey Blood Services (NJBS), a division of the New York Blood Center (NYBC), serving more than 20 million people in the metropolitan area, is calling upon its communities to participate in scheduled group blood drives, in light of the very tight inventories of blood – at or below the two-day “safety level.”

“We’re taking a double hit right now, and we need help,” said NYBC Vice President Rob Purvis.  “We’ve had a surge in demand from our hospital partners, serving the needs of their patients.  At the same time, blood donation rates are much lower than we need them to be.”

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NYBC strives to maintain a three- to five-day inventory of all blood types.  October is typically a strong month for blood collections, since schools which comprise a significant component are in session all month, and many workplace blood drives are also underway.  In spite of these critical efforts, the overall blood inventory remains below the two-day level for several blood types, and NYBC projections indicate continued shortfalls unless donation rates improve.

Donations from O-negative and B-negative types are particularly needed immediately.  Hospital use of blood products has surged — due to surgeries, emergencies and care of cancer patients.  About one in seven people entering a hospital needs blood.  People with Rh-negative blood, including A-, B- and O-, comprise just 15% of the population, yet their blood can be safely transfused to the remaining 85%.  People with O-negative blood are known as “universal donors” because their blood can be transfused into anyone.  Type O-negative blood is found in just nine percent of the population, but is used more often by patients with other blood types, especially in emergency rooms and trauma situations.

“We’re counting on our neighbors to step up and participate in scheduled blood drives,” said  Purvis.  “It’s easy, it’s safe, and each individual donation can save up to three lives.”

If you have any questions about donor eligibility, or would like to make an appointment to donate, call 1-800-933-2566 or visit www.nybloodcenter.org


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