2002-09-07 / Community

Blood Donations Urgently Needed!

Blood Donations Urgently Needed!

New York Blood Center, the metropolitan community’s chief supplier of lifesaving blood transfusion products to nearly 200 New York and New Jersey hospitals, has seen a dramatic 29 percent drop-off in donations in July, forcing a 25 percent cutback in distribution of some universal blood types to area hospitals.

"This situation is very grave. We urge anyone eligible to donate this summer. We have seen nearly 8,000 fewer donations this July versus July 2001, yet demand for blood has not decreased at all," explained Dr. James Louie, Executive Director, Long Island Blood Services.

"We know donor deferrals have increased as a result of new Food & Drug Administration donor criteria guidelines that went into effect May 31, 2002. But we are also very concerned many donors are mistakenly self-deferring. We urge potential donors to register to donate and let our staff determine their eligibility," Dr. Louie added.

In addition, many donors across the nation, but perhaps even more so in the New York/New Jersey community, are suffering from severe donor apathy or malaise following the horrific events of 9/11/2001.

"Our community has been uniquely touched by last year’s attack on our nation. Many large organizations no longer exist or have been permanently or temporarily displaced. Others are experiencing downsizing due to the economic fallout of 9/11. And security remains a paramount issue in the New York region, inhibiting our ability to run blood drives at many organizations," reported Dr. Louie.

Other suspected reasons for the decline in summer donations are preoccupation with vacations and a simple lack of education about both blood needs and perish ability. A pint of donated blood only lasts 42 days and people can safely donate every eight weeks. Every day in our nation there is a need for close to 35,000 pints of blood for transfusions. Furthermore, people who donated on 9/11/2001, many for the first time, have not donated since. But it is the blood already on hospital shelves that truly helps both surgery and trauma victims, according to NYBC.

Other U.S. blood centers have been supporting the NY/NJ community this summer, but as shortages of blood are increasingly being reported across the nation "our outside supplies could shrink, creating even graver local shortages. That’s why we urgently need local residents to donate on behalf of their own community," concluded Dr. Louie.

Potential donors must be at least age 17 and weigh a minimum of 110 pounds. People are urged to call NYBC’s toll-free number (1-800-933-2566) to schedule a convenient donation appointment at one of many mobile or permanent donor locations throughout New York City, Long Island, northern and central New Jersey and the Hudson Valley.

REMEMBER THESE DATES!

Open Mobiles will be at the following locations:

Sept. 9: 3:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. VFW-Post #1582, 259 Doughty Blvd., Inwood.

Sept. 13: 12 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. North Fork Bank, 155-14 Cross Bay Blvd.

Sept. 15: 8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. St. Francis de Sales Parish, Beach 129 St., Belle Harbor

Sept. 19: 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Jamaica Hospital, 8900 Van Wyck Expressway, Jamaica.

Sept. 23: 7a.m. – 6 p.m. Peninsula Hospital Center, Ctr. for Extended Care & Rehabilitation, 50-15 Beach Channel Drive.

Sept. 29: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Kiwanis Club of the Five Towns, 101 Causeway, Lawrence.


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