2002-06-01 / Community

Blood Donors Needed Due to New Guidelines

Blood Donors Needed Due to New Guidelines

Blood Donors Needed Due to New Guidelines

Due to new guidelines on blood donor criteria and eligibility, the New York/New Jersey community’s blood supply could shrink by nearly 25% beginning June 1, 2002.

"The Food and Drug Administration’s new guidelines will effectively ban the importation of blood from Europe and from people who have spent considerable time in Europe. The guidelines are related to the theoretical risk of transmitting ‘mad cow disease’ by transfusion," explained Dr. James Louie, Executive Director of Long Island Blood Services and a region of the New York Blood Center, who is the chief supplier of blood to close to 200 hospitals in New York and New Jersey. "But for nearly 30 years we have imported approximately 150,000 pints of blood annually to offset a historical blood supply/demand gap in our community where currently less than 2% of the eligible population donates blood. So we are pleading with residents of New York and New Jersey to be part of the solution now and roll up their sleeve to donate."

Due to an aging population, more sophisticated medical and surgical procedures and an increase in cancer diagnoses, the demand for blood has been rising in recent years, yet blood shortages have become more common. But the New York/New Jersey community is at particular risk. "This year’s summertime blood shortage could be catastrophic given our dwindling European blood import program and the continued ramifications of 9/11. That tragedy has resulted in 25% less donations in Manhattan since last fall," added Dr. Louie. "While we have expanded our domestic blood import program and ramped up staffing levels and invested in new collection equipment and convenient bus mobiles, we and area hospital patients are totally reliant on volunteer donors. Without dramatically increased blood donations this summer and throughout the year, health care delivery in our community is at real risk," concluded Dr. Louie.

"An available and adequate blood supply is paramount to quality medical care in hospitals," noted Kenneth Raske, President, Greater New York Hospital Association. "We are very concerned about the community’s blood supply and support New York Blood Center in its outreach efforts."

Blood donors must be at least 17 years of age, be in good general health and weigh a minimum of 110 pounds. All donors receive a free mini medical exam checking their iron count, pulse rate, temperature and blood pressure.

On June 2, between 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. there will be an open mobile for donating blood at Young Israel of Far Rockaway, 716 Beach 9 Street, Far Rockaway. On June 15, between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. you can donate blood at Rockaway Point Volunteer Fire Department, located at St. Thomas More Church, 204-25 Rockaway Point Blvd., Rockaway Point. Also, St. Camillus Church, 185 Beach 99 Street, Rockaway Beach, will be a site for donating on June 23, between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Donors are urged to call New York Blood Center at 1-800-933-BLOOD for a convenient donation appointment at one of the many locations or to visit www.nybloodcenter.org for a listing of donation locations.

New York Blood Center is the nation’s largest community-based, non-profit blood collection and distribution center. Through the support of five regional operations, New York Blood Center’s mission is to distribute nearly 2,000 pints of blood daily to metropolitan area hospitals.

New York Blood Center’s regions include: Brooklyn/Staten Island Blood Services, which distributes to over 35 hospitals in Brooklyn and Staten Island; Hudson Valley Blood Services, which distributes to over 50 hospitals in the Bronx and lower Hudson Valley; Long Island Blood Services, which distributes to over 50 hospitals in Queens, Nassau & Suffolk; New York Blood Services, which distributes to over 30 hospitals in Manhattan; and New Jersey Blood Services, which distributes to over 65 hospitals in northern and central New Jersey.

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