2005-07-22 / Community

Red Cross Says That Blood Donations Lag

Blood donations still lag 25 percent behind what is required to adequately serve patients in 13 Queens area hospitals, forcing New York Blood Center, the majority blood supplier in the New York/New Jersey community, to issue its second emergency appeal for blood this summer. It falls shortly after the New York State Department of Health, the New Jersey Department of Health & Senior Services and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer all issued appeals for blood.

Anyone eligible to donate blood is being urged to call New York Blood Center at 1-800-933-BLOOD to schedule a donation appointment or asked to donate at their local hospital if it has a blood donor room.

“We began rationing blood distribution in June,” points out Dr. James Louie, New York Blood Center Vice President. “Now we have grown even more concerned about our community’s blood shortage and its potential for compromising health care here this summer.”

Reasons for the critical summer shortage include lower than average donor turnout, a preoccupation with summer vacations and the inability to collect blood at high school and college drives (which typically make up approximately 15% of the local community blood supply) in the summer months. “But that’s no consolation for the 4 million Americans who rely on life-saving transfusions each year,” explains Dr. Louie.

Moreover, in times of heightened alerts, terrorism acts, building collapses and other unscheduled events, “it’s the blood that’s already on the shelf that will keep our community healthy and prepared,” Dr. Louie concludes.      

The Queens community alone needs 600 volunteer donations each week to ensure adequate blood products are available for local cancer and surgery patients, accident and trauma victims, newborn babies and many other patients in need. 

Blood donors of all types are needed. Blood donors must be at least 17, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be in generally good health. 

Donors must also meet all Food & Drug Administration and New York Department of Health donor criteria.

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