New York Blood Center plays an important role in promoting community health. We interact with up to 2000 blood donors each day. The motivation for volunteer blood donation is to provide life-sustaining blood and blood products for patients in need. However, blood donors can also gain important information that contributes to their own health.
For example, blood donors always have their blood pressure checked before blood donation. We now provide specific information to the donor about this test. If the blood pressure is higher than medically recommended, we provide information about this finding along with specific guidance for medical follow-up.
Donors also have their hemoglobin level checked to determine if it is acceptable for blood donation. Donors with low hemoglobin are informed about the significance of this finding and are provided appropriate follow-up information.
In addition to these tests, which are required for blood donation, New York Blood Center is piloting a Cardiovascular Risk Donor health screening program to see if it can be of benefit to our donors. If this program is successful, we will expand it to the entire organization. New York Blood Center medical staff is considering other screening tests that may be appropriate to promote the health of our blood donors and, by extension, the community-at-large.
We also provide health services for donors and patients with special medical needs. For example, patients with a medical disorder called hereditary hemochromatosis require frequent phlebotomies (blood donations) to lower the excessive iron levels characteristic of this disease. We provide these therapeutic blood donations at no charge. We also maintain an active program of recruiting and caring for donors who give donations of bone marrow or specialized blood cells to help patients with cancer or serious hereditary disorders.
These programs are consistent with our goal of extending and strengthening the role of New York Blood Center as a health resource for the metropolitan New York and New Jersey communities.