Irene Creates Blood Emergency
2,000+ Units of Blood Lost From Shutdowns and Power Outages
Supplies of Several Blood Types Below Minimum Levels
NEW YORK, Aug. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New York Blood Center (NYBC), serving more than 20 million people in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, and New Jersey, is following the emergency declarations of Mayor Bloomberg and other tri-state public officials with an emergency appeal for blood donors. The supply of several blood types, including O-negative ("universal donor") blood, which is normally maintained at the three-to-five-day inventory level, has dropped below the two-day minimum level.
"We anticipated the potential effects of Irene, and delivered extra blood in advance to our 200 partner hospitals," said NYBC Vice President Rob Purvis. "Our first priority remains getting them whatever they need for the care of trauma and cancer patients." Due to concerns for the safety of its donors and staff, NYBC closed its donor centers and cancelled all blood drives on Sunday, August 28. "With Labor Day right around the corner, we're between a rock and a hard place," Purvis added. "We need the help of our communities to replenish the blood supply."
The need for blood is constant, whatever the weather or holiday. The shelf life of platelets is only five days; the shelf life of red blood cells is 42 days. About one in seven people entering a hospital needs blood.
"We faced a similar situation after the Christmas Blizzard and January's constant snowstorms, when cancellations meant the loss of 8,000 units of blood." Purvis said. "Our neighbors came through for hospital patients then, and replenished the blood supply. We need them to step up again, and schedule an appointment to donate life-saving blood."
To donate blood or for information on how to organize a blood drive,
Please call Toll Free: 1-800-933-2566
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.
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, pulse rate, blood pressure and hemoglobin 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. 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.
Contact: Rubenstein Associates
SOURCE New York Blood Center