2002-08-01 / Other News

Blood Donors Needed As

State

Governor George Pataki this week urged New Yorkers to help save lives by donating blood. The governor said that New York’s new $400,000 campaign to recruit blood donors is underway to help alleviate the current shortages being experienced by the state’s blood banks.

An estimated 60 percent of New Yorkers are eligible to be blood donors, but only approximately four percent donate annually. National statistics show that 85 percent of the population in the United States will need a blood transfusion in their lifetime and that someone receives a blood transfusion every two seconds.

To meet patient needs, the American Red Cross, the New York Blood Center and blood banks around the State continue to work to maintain a minimum three-day supply of blood for all types. However, recent data suggests that the current supplies of blood for most types are below a three-day supply.

There is now less than a one-day supply of type 0 blood in some areas of the State. Even more critical, if blood donations don’t increase within the next two weeks, experts are saying that by August, in specific areas of New York, there may be no inventory of 0 negative blood and that blood banks will be forced to release for emergencies only.

The demand for blood remains ever-present because of the aging population and the increased need for blood transfusions due to the medical advances in organ transplantation, surgery and aggressive cancer treatment. Replacements are desperately needed as well for longtime donors who, because of ill health or other reasons, no longer can donate blood.

State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello said that people 17 years of age and older, who weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health, may be eligible to donate blood. It is important to know that all blood and blood products collected in New York State meet or exceed state and federal safety guidelines. A new, sterile needle is used for each blood donation and is immediately discarded afterward to ensure the process is safe.

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