O-Negative Pints In High Demand
The New York Blood Center (NYBC) is asking for the public’s help to maintain an adequate three-to-five day supply of O-negative blood.
People with O-negative blood are known as “universal donors” because their blood can be transfused into anyone. It is found in just six percent of the population, and is often transfused to patients in emergency rooms and trauma situations when there is no time for blood typing.
“Although we have not experienced a widespread shortage as is being reported in other parts of the country, we have noticed an uptick in local demand that may reflect shortages elsewhere. Local patients need our community’s help now to maintain the supply of O-negative blood,” said NYBC Vice President Rob Purvis. “Overall, our supply of blood is strong, and we’re confident of our ability to provide our 200 partner hospitals with whatever they need. But we can’t do it alone, and that’s why we’re asking our donors to roll up their sleeves.”
Blood donations tend to be lowest during the summer months as regular donors leave the area on vacation. Also, donations from high schools and colleges, which account for 25 percent of regional blood collection, decrease when schools close for the summer.
Each day there are patients who depend on the transfusion of red blood cells, platelets and plasma to stay alive. But blood and blood products can’t be manufactured. They can only come from volunteer blood donors who take an hour to attend a blood drive or visit a donor center.
Blood donors receive free minimedical 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 Ad- ministration and NY or NJ State Department of Health donor criteria. People over 75 may donate with a doctor’s note.
Anyone who cannot donate but wishes to participate in the NYBC’s efforts are encouraged to ask someone they know to donate for them or consider volunteering at a local blood drive.
The 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.
To donate blood or for information on how to organize a blood drive, call 1-800-933-2566 or visit www.nybloodcenter.org.