Snow Storm Creates Blood Emergency

Jan 27, 2011, 14:29 ET from New York Blood Center

1,600 Units of Blood Lost From Latest Snow Cancellations

8,000 Donations Lost in Six Weeks from Winter Weather

Supplies of Several Blood Types Below Minimum Levels

NEW YORK, Jan. 27, 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 declaration 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.

"Our first priority is to make sure that our 200 partner hospitals get whatever they need, whenever they need it," said NYBC Vice President Rob Purvis.  "Here's the tough part – winter weather has a cumulative effect.  We just get a handle on building up the blood supply after one storm, then get knocked down again by the next one.  After so many snowstorms, and the loss of 8,000 units of blood in six weeks, you can see why we must keep asking for our neighbors' help."

Blood is traditionally in short supply during the winter months due to the holidays, travel schedules, inclement weather and illness.  Approximately 25% of regional blood collection comes from high schools and colleges, which are especially vulnerable to weather-related closures and cancellations.  

The need for blood is constant, whatever the weather.  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.

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  Follow us on Twitter: @NYBloodCenter.    

CONTACT:  Leslie Gonzalez of the New York Blood Center, +1-718-797-7804 Office, +1-646-342-3038 Mobile,

SOURCE New York Blood Center