2002-07-27 / Community

‘O Negative’ Blood Donations Needed

‘O Negative’ Blood Donations Needed

New York Blood Center and its five operating regions have a severe Type O Negative blood shortage, forcing the nation’s largest community blood center to cut distribution to area hospitals of this universal blood type by 25%.

"We regret ever instituting hospital cutbacks, but with only a two to three-day supply we simply don’t have enough O Negative blood to go around," said Dr. James Louie, Executive, Long Island Blood Services. "We implore all O Negative donors to make a life-saving donation this summer so we can adequately meet hospital patient demand this summer."

O Negative Blood can be transfused to anyone, regardless of blood type, in a medical emergency, which is why it is in such high demand.

While the balance of New York Blood Center’s inventory of blood is adequate at present, red cell donations only last 42 days. "And should local donations decline or domestic blood imports shrink due to blood shortages elsewhere in the country, our community’s entire blood supply could be at risk this summer," added Dr. Louie.

In particular, new donors are needed to replace those donors now deferred due to the May 31, 2002, implementation of new Food & Drug Administration blood donor guidelines. These guidelines focus on lengthy stays in the United Kingdom and France, as well as time spent on U.S. military bases in Europe, and relate to a theoretical risk of transmitting mad cow disease via blood transfusion. "In just a few weeks of implementation, donor deferrals related to the new guidelines have nearly tripled," Dr. Louie pointed out.

Potential donors are urged to call New York Blood Center at 1-800-933-2566 to schedule a convenient donation appointment at one of many permanent or mobile locations throughout New York. Donation locations can be accessed via New York Blood Center’s website at www.nybloodcenter.org.

The local upcoming open mobiles include one in Lawrence, another in Long Beach. Roslyn Savings Bank will have an open mobile on August 16 between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at 333 Central Avenue, Lawrence. On August 27 the Long Beach Medical Center will have an open mobile between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. It is located at 455 East Bay Drive.

Donors must be at least age 17, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be in good general health. All donors receive a free mini medical exam and refreshments are served.

New York Blood Center is the nation’s largest community-based, non-profit blood collection and distribution organization. It has been providing life-saving blood products and services to 200 hospitals throughout New York and New Jersey for close to 40 years.


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