Blood emergency; supplies falling into danger zone

Dear Editor:

New Jersey Blood Services (NJBS), an affiliate of the New York Blood Center (NYBC), has issued an emergency appeal for blood donations with supplies at serious risk of falling below the three-day supply danger zone.

“The summer of 2008 has dealt us a triple – high demand, high gas prices and high temperatures,” said Executive Director of NJBS, Charles Grossenbacher. “Demand for blood from hospitals is up. High gas prices make donors hesitant to drive to us. And heat waves have cut donations at facilities without air conditioning, like churches.” Grossenbacher adds, “Summer is always a tough time because people go away on vacation and aren’t available to donate.”

Each day, NYBC and its regional partners must collect 2,000 units of lifesaving blood to treat patients in hospitals across New York and New Jersey. With the current shortfall, NJBS is concerned about its ability to meet predictable patient needs, plus emergencies (including car crashes, complications during childbirth and emergency surgery.) Some blood types are being rationed already with the prospect of more drastic measures should the shortage continue to worsen.

All donors receive free mini-medical exams on site and information about their temperatures, pulse rate, blood pressure and hemoglobin level. Eligible donors include those people at least age 17 in NJ, who weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, are in good health and meet all Food & Drug Administration and NJ State Department of Health donor criteria. Inquiries are also welcomed from organizations who would like to schedule an emergency blood drive.

To contact NJBS, toll free, 1-800-933-2566; website:

Tom Viggiano


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