2006-09-15 / Community

Urgent Appeal For Blood Donors

New York Blood Center is reporting a critical community-wide blood shortage with dangerously low blood supplies in over 200 New York and New Jersey hospitals.

"Our supply of blood was low all summer, necessitating rationing to hospitals. But the situation grew worse in late August when donor rates were close to 30% behind goal," explained Dr. Robert Jones, President and CEO of New York Blood Center.

"We are literally looking at refrigerator shelves with precious few pints of blood. A community is not prepared for emergency and everyday medical needs without a safe and adequate blood supply. Just imagine the public concern if supermarket shelves had no milk, eggs or water. The current blood shortage could very likely lead to cancelled surgeries at area hospitals," Jones added.

Historically less than 2% of eligible people in New York and New Jersey donate blood each year, which lags far behind the nationwide average of 5%. New York Blood Center traditionally had made up the gap by purchasing blood from other parts of the U.S., but few imports are available this time of the year.

"The bottom line is simple. Previous donors need to return to donate again and new people need to literally roll up their sleeves to give the gift of life. Local patients are counting on their neighbors to keep them and our entire community healthy," said Dr. Jones.

Eligible blood donors must be at least age 16, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and in generally good health. Anyone with questions about their donor eligibility status or to make an appointment to give blood can call New York Blood Center at 1-800-933-BLOOD or visit www.ny bl oodcenter.org.

The Graybeards are sponsoring a local blood drive this Sunday, September 17 from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the St. Francis de Sales gym on Beach 129 Street.

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