“Triple Threat” Snow Storms Cause Blood Supply Emergency
More Than 100 Blood Drives Cancelled;
O-Negative Below Minimum “Safety Level”
Platelet Supply Challenged
February 5, 2014 / New York, NY – In the midst of an unprecedented string of winter storms, New York Blood Center (NYBC) is urgently asking donors to roll up their sleeves to replenish our community blood and platelet supply.
To donate blood or platelets or for information on how to organize a blood drive
Please call Toll Free: 1-800-933-2566
The Governors of New York and New Jersey have declared a State of Emergency as a result of the storms, and dozens of blood drives have been cancelled. Blood drives that are continuing have experienced greatly reduced attendance, while operations at NYBC’s many walk-in donor centers are similarly affected.
Of the six major blood types, five are below target levels. The supply of O-Negative blood – “universal donor” blood that can be transfused into anyone in a trauma situation – is now below the minimum emergency “safety level.” Also, platelets- needed for clotting- have only a 5-day shelf life and meeting the needs of cancer patients and others who require this lifesaving blood component has been a challenge.
“While we’re confident in our ability to supply our partner hospitals, we’re still struggling with the effects of the snow and ice this week, and worried about an even bigger hit this weekend,” said NYBC Vice President Rob Purvis. “It is critical that we all pitch in by donating blood to ensure that supplies aren’t further diminished in the days ahead.”
There is no substitute for human blood, with about one in seven hospital admissions requiring a blood transfusion. Blood is especially important for people with leukemia, other forms of cancer, and of course for trauma victims. With a limited shelf life, supplies must be continually replenished.
Three factors are combining together to prompt NYBC’s emergency declaration:
- Many blood drives have been cancelled because of accumulated or predicted snowfall.
- Many donors haven’t been able to make scheduled donation appointments due to the weather.
- Hospital demand for blood types – notably O-negative, the universal blood type because of its usefulness in trauma situations – remains high.
If you cannot donate but still wish to participate in bringing crucial blood products to patients in need, please ask someone to donate for you, or consider volunteering at a local blood drive. NYBC also offers special community service scholarships for students who organize community blood drives during summer months.
Any company, community organization, place of worship, or individual may host a blood drive. NYBC also offers special community service scholarships for students who organize community blood drives during summer and winter months. Blood donors receive free mini-medical exams on site including information about their temperature, blood pressure and hematocrit level. Eligible donors include those people at least age 16 (with parental permission or consent), who weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, are in good health and meet all Food & Drug Administration and NY or NJ State Department of Health donor criteria. People over 75 may donate with a doctor's note.
About New York Blood Center: New York Blood Center (NYBC) is one of the nation's largest non-profit, community-based blood centers. For fifty years, NYBC has been providing blood, transfusion products and services to hospitals serving more than 20 million people in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. NYBC is also home to the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute and the National Cord Blood Program at the Howard P. Milstein National Cord Blood Center, the world's largest public cord blood bank. NYBC provides medical services and programs (Clinical, Transfusion, and Hemophilia Services) through our medical professionals along with consultative services in transfusion medicine. Please visit us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/newyorkbloodcenter. Follow us on Twitter: @NY_BloodCenter. Website: www.nybloodcenter.org