Currently, blood reserves are below the minimum of a seven-day inventory in local hospitals, according to New York Blood Center.
New York Blood Center (NYBC) released a statement on Monday, declaring a blood emergency for New York City. The independent community-based blood center is asking people across the city and beyond to donate blood to help replenish the blood supply for hospitals throughout the area. The blood emergency also coincides with calls for people to donate in honor of World Blood Donor Day on Thursday, June 14, a day designed to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products.
In order to maintain a safe blood supply, a seven-day inventory of all blood types must be continually replenished. Right now, reserves are below that minimum, according to NYBC. These low levels are particularly dangerous leading into summer months when people are less likely to donate blood as schools go on summer break and families take vacations. The best preparation for life-threatening situations is having blood on hospital shelves in advance.
"Every single day, blood donations help save lives — and right now, the need is critical," said Andrea Cefarelli, senior executive director of Donor Recruitment for NYBC. "We're calling on everyone to do what they can to spread the word, host a blood drive or simply take an hour out of their day to donate."
About one in seven hospital admissions requires a blood transfusion, and with a limited shelf life, supplies must be continually replenished. Those in need include cancer patients; accident, burn, or trauma victims; newborn babies and their mothers; transplant recipients; surgery patients, and chronically transfused patients suffering from sickle cell disease or thalassemia, among others.
How to help? Donate blood or platelets at a donor center or mobile blood drive, host a blood drive in your community and educate others in your family and community about blood donations. It just takes 60 minutes to donate one pint of blood.
Community members are encouraged to find time to donate blood at an NYBC donor center or convenient mobile blood drive, especially donors with O negative and B negative blood types. O negative blood donors are considered "universal," and their blood type is needed most readily in trauma situations and emergency rooms across the country. B negative is a particularly rare blood type.
Companies, organizations and community groups are also encouraged to host a blood drive this summer to help rebuild the blood supply, especially during the months of July and August.
For more information on where to donate in Central or East Brooklyn, or how to set up your own drive, visit www.nybloodcenter.org/blood or call 1-800-933-2566.