“Universal Donors” Needed to Bolster Blood Supply

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STATE — New Jersey Blood Services (NJBS), a division of New York Blood Center (NYBC) is asking for the public’s help to maintain an adequate three-to-five day supply of O-negative blood.

People with O-negative blood are known as “universal donors” because their blood can be transfused into anyone. It is found in just six percent of the population, and is often transfused to patients in emergency rooms and trauma situations when there is no time for blood typing.

“Although we have not experienced a widespread shortage as is being reported in other parts of the country, we have noticed an uptick in local demand that may reflect shortages elsewhere. Local patients need our community’s help now to maintain the supply of O-negative blood,” said NYBC Vice President Rob Purvis. “Overall, our supply of blood is strong, and we’re confident of our ability to provide our 200 partner hospitals with whatever they need. But we can’t do it alone, and that’s why we’re asking our donors to roll up their sleeves.”

Blood donations tend to be lowest during the summer months as regular donors leave the area on vacation. Also, donations from high schools and colleges, which account for 25% of regional blood collection, decrease when schools close for the summer.

Each and every day there are patients who depend on the transfusion of red blood cells, platelets and plasma to stay alive. But blood and blood products can’t be manufactured. They can only come from volunteer blood donors who take an hour to attend a blood drive or visit a donor center.

To donate blood or for information on how to organize a blood drive (especially during August) call 1-800-933-2566 or visit www.nybloodcenter.org

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