The New York Blood Center has issued an emergency appeal for blood donations. Donations over the holidays were lower than expectations, and hospital demand has increased beyond expectations. It’s a major shortage that needs the help of the residents of New York.
It’s also National Blood Donor Month, but donating blood year round is a good idea for those that can, throughout the country.
New York Blood Center (NYBC) and its regional operations (serving New York City, Long Island, Hudson Valley and New Jersey) have 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.
“Blood is traditionally in short supply during the winter months due to the holidays, travel schedules, inclement weather and illness,” said Dr. Robert L. Jones, New York Blood Center President & CEO. January, in particular, is a difficult month for blood centers, especially following the holidays when donation levels plummet.
The current severe economic downturn 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% of regional blood collection coming from high schools and colleges, winter recess contributes substantially to the current shortfall.
“The health of our community depends on people scheduling a few minutes for blood donation, to prevent additional rationing and possible cancellation of surgery,” Dr. Jones said.
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 in Manhattan, Brooklyn / Staten Island, Long Island, Hudson Valley and New Jersey require 2,000 blood donations each day to supply the needs of 200 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.
- Fewer than five percent of healthy Americans eligible to donate blood actually donate each year. In New York, only two percent actually donate.
- 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 include those people at least age 16 with parental consent (in NY) or 17 (in NJ), 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.
To donate blood, please call:
Toll Free: 1-800-933-2566
About New York Blood Center:
New York Blood Center (NYBC) is one of the nation’s largest non-profit, community-based blood centers. NYBC has been providing blood, transfusion products and services to patients in greater New York since 1964. NYBC is also home to the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute and the National Cord Blood Program at the Howard P. Milstein National Cord Blood Center, the world’s largest public cord blood bank. NYBC provides medical services and programs (Clinical, Transfusion, and Hemophilia Services) through our medical professionals and transfusion medicine physicians.