Blood Supplies Fall To Critical Level

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STATE – Multiple calendar hurdles, lower than normal donor turnout, plus high demand from area hospitals, have reduced community blood supply to critical levels, according to a New York Blood Center spokesperson. Notably, there is than a one-day supply of O-negative “universal donor” blood, which can be transfused into anyone in trauma situations when there is no time for blood typing. In addition, types B-negative and A-negative are also very low.

“Our 200 hospital partners have been great about working with us to manage the tight supplies following the holidays,” said New York Blood Center (NYBC) Vice President Rob Purvis. “But, when patients need blood, they need blood, and our hospitals have requested more than our community has been able to supply over Labor Day and last week’s holidays.” On top of that, many schools, which provide at least a quarter of the blood supply, have late starts this year.

To make up for the shortfall as quickly as possible, New Jersey Blood Services (NJBS), a division of NYBC, has a wide variety of donor centers and blood drives open this week. See NYBC’s website for a list of available locations: Operators are standing by to help donors with appointments at 1-800-933-BLOOD (2566).

Each and every day there are patients who depend on the transfusion of red blood cells, platelets and plasma to stay alive – including those with cancer, leukemia, and victims of accidents and other traumas. 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.

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, blood pressure and hematocrit level. Eligible donors include those people at least age 16 (with parental permission or consent), who weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, are in good health and meet all Food & Drug Administration and NY or NJ State Department of Health donor criteria. People over 75 may donate with a doctor’s note.

New York Blood Center is one of the nation’s largest non-profit, community-based blood centers. For almost 50 years, NYBC has been providing blood, transfusion products and services to hospitals serving more than 20 million people in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

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