2006-05-12 / Community

Blood Donors Needed For The Summer

In preparation for the difficult summer months ahead, New York Blood Center (NYBC) is urging all those eligible to donate life-saving blood or platelets, or to schedule a blood drive at their workplace, church, synagogue, school or local community organization.

Queens' supply of blood is becoming increasingly low as donation rates fail to keep pace with demand, points out Dr. James Louie, New York Blood Center Vice President and Long Island Blood Services' Executive Director. "Over 600 donations are needed each week for patients in 13 Queens hospitals, yet donations often lag behind each day by as much as 20-25 percent. New York Blood Center imports over 50,000 pints each year from other U.S. blood centers just to meet local hospital requirements. However, during the summer months, outside sources aren't always available to us, which creates a precarious situation. We simply need more local donors, more frequent donations and more organizations to sponsor blood drives to get us through the summer," Louie said.

In an effort to boost blood donations, New York Blood Center is using Automated Red Cell Technology at its Queens mobile blood drives. This technology enables blood donors to donate a larger volume of red blood cells than a whole blood donation. Many donors feel better after automated donations because the technology only extracts the "red cells" in blood and returns the other components and "fluid" portion of blood to the body, leaving the donor feeling hydrated.

This technology has the added benefits for the donor of a smaller needle and greater time interval between donations. Automated red cell donations are made every 112 days or 16 weeks, versus 56 days or eight weeks for a whole blood donation.

Blood donors must be between the ages of 16 and 76 (16 with written parental permission; 76 and older with a doctor's note), weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, and be in generally good health. All donors receive free mini-medical exams and information about their temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure and hemoglobin level. For more information, call the New York Blood Center at 1-800-933-BLOOD, or visit ww.nybloodcenter.org.

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