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Donate Blood Today -- Save Up to Three Lives
Date:1/5/2009

Critical need to restore community blood supply

NEW YORK, Jan. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New York Blood Center (NYBC) calls upon the community to please donate blood today, in recognition of National Blood Donor Month, and to help replenish the local blood supply that has fallen sharply over the recent holiday period. Supplies of many blood types are now at the critical 3-day level, with distribution restrictions placed on Type O, Rh negative blood.

Ordinarily, a 5-7 day supply is required to ensure that blood is available for scheduled surgical procedures, medical treatments for cancer patients and to meet emergency or unexpected disaster needs. To meet local needs, New York Blood Center requires 2,000 blood donations each day.

Blood is traditionally in short supply during the winter months due to the holidays, travel schedules, inclement weather and illness. January, in particular, is a difficult month for blood centers to collect blood donations. And with 15% of regional blood collection coming from high schools and colleges, winter recess contributes substantially to the current shortfall.

"There is no substitute for human blood, and the only place to get this precious resource is from volunteer blood donors," said Robert L. Jones, MD; President and CEO, New York Blood Center. "With an aging population and advances in medical treatments and procedures requiring blood transfusions, the demand for blood continues to increase."

Approximately every two seconds, someone needs blood, and one out of three people will need a life-saving blood transfusion in their lifetime. Every day in the U.S., approximately 39,000 units of blood are required in hospitals and emergency treatment facilities for patients with cancer and other diseases, for organ transplant recipients, and to help save the lives of accident victims.

If all eligible blood donors gave at least twice a year, it would greatly help in maintaining an adequate blood supply. Yet fewer than 5 percent of healthy Americans eligible to donate blood actually donate each year. In New York, only 2% actually donate.

People can donate blood every 56 days. Red blood cells must be used within 42 days, platelets within five days, and plasma can be frozen and used for up to one year.

A single blood donation can help save the lives of up to three people. An adult of average weight has about 10 to 12 units of blood, so one pint is easy to spare. Once donated, blood can be separated into several components including red blood cells, platelets and plasma.

A single patient can use large amounts of blood: Car accident and trauma victims need as many as 50 or more red cell transfusions, and burn victims can use up to 50 platelet transfusions. Some anemic patients require blood transfusions to increase their iron levels. Platelets help blood to clot and give those with leukemia and other cancers a chance to live. Plasma helps maintain blood pressure, carries blood cells, nutrients, enzymes, and hormones, and supplies critical proteins for blood clotting and immunity.

Any company, community organization, place of worship, or individual may host a blood drive.

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 consent (in NY) or 17 (in NJ), 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.

To donate blood, please call:

Toll Free: 1-800-933-2566

Visit: www.nybloodcenter.org

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 patients in greater New York since 1964. 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 and transfusion medicine physicians.

    CONTACT:
    Leslie Gonzalez
    (212) 570-3304  Office
    (646) 342-3038  Mobile
    lgonzalez2@nybloodcenter.org


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SOURCE New York Blood Center
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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