New York’s Blood Shortage
- New York Blood Center alone requires over 2,000 volunteer blood donations each day to meet the transfusion needs of patients in close to 200 New York and New Jersey hospitals.
- Without the generosity of these volunteer donors, the Greater New York area would face a chronic blood shortage.
- If blood shortages occur, New York State would have to rely on blood from other states, which could result in hospitals having less than a two-day supply on hand.
The Need for Blood
- Every three seconds, someone in this country needs a lifesaving blood transfusion.
- The need for blood is constant. One out of every 10 people entering a hospital needs blood, including cancer, burn, trauma, and surgery patients, mothers delivering babies, accident victims and many more.
- There is no substitute for human blood—it can only come from volunteer donors.
- One pint of blood can help save as many as three lives.
- The demand for transfusions is increasing as the population ages and more sophisticated medical care and surgeries, requiring transfusion support, become more commonplace.
The Need for a Diverse Blood Supply
- For an estimated 5% of patients, we need to find blood that is an even more specific match and lacks certain antigens that the patient has developed antibodies against. Providing incompatible blood for transfusions can cause life-threatening reactions.
- Some blood types are more common in certain ethnic groups, and New York Blood Center’s PreciseMatch Program ensures everyone in our diverse communities has access to the most precisely matched blood products possible.
- In addition to identifying rare blood types, we specially code these rare donated units so they are easily found for patients with rare blood types.
Blood Donation Facts
- Each donation of blood can help save 3 lives following component (red cell, platelet, plasma) separation.
- Much of today's sophisticated medical care (transplants, heart surgeries, etc.) relies on blood transfusions.
- Car accident and trauma victims may need as many as 50 or more red cell transfusions.
- Severe burn victims may need as many as 20 platelet transfusions.
- Bone marrow transplants may require platelets from over 100 donors and red cells from over 20 people.
- Blood products are perishable: donated red cells last only 42 days; donated platelets last only 5 days; and plasma can be frozen for a year.
- A trained technician performs the donation procedure—donors fill out a donor registration form, have a donor history/mini medical exam, and enjoy refreshments following the donation. The entire process takes about an hour.
Who is Eligible?
- Nearly anyone age 17 (16 with parents' written permission) to 75, who weighs a minimum of 110 pounds and is in good health, can safely donate blood.
- Donors age 76 and older can continue to donate blood if they meet all eligibility criteria and present a physician's letter allowing them to donate, once at the first donation after reaching their 76th birthday. In the absence of a letter from their physician, they must be cleared by an NYBC medical director at each donation.
- There are some reasons and conditions that may permanently or temporarily defer someone from donor eligibility, but far more people are eligible to donate than actually do donate.