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March 2011


Working to reverse the impact of fewer blood donors and chronic blood shortages, Community Blood Services is encouraging eligible blood donors to make an automated donation of double red cells and save even more lives with each lifesaving donation.

“Automation technology can effectively increase the blood and platelet supplies without requiring an increase in the number of blood donors,” said Dr. Ronald Walsh, medical director at Community Blood Services. “We hope that by increasing automated donations we will help alleviate reduced blood inventories that become particularly acute after the holidays and throughout the winter and summer months.”

The automated donation system enables blood center staff to calibrate machines to collect only those blood types that are most critically needed by patients in community hospitals. Once a donor’s weight and height qualifies him or her to make an automated donation, it takes about 60 to 90 minutes of their time to donate, Dr. Walsh said.

Donors can make automated donations at donor centers in Paramus and Lincoln Park in New Jersey and in Florida, Cornwall, Warwick, and Chester, New York, as well as on some mobile blood drives. For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate, visit www.communitybloodservices.com or call toll free 866-228-1500.

Automated technology allows the blood center to collect double red cells from donors with blood types in chronic short supply with no inconvenience to donors. Type O blood, which can be safely transfused into virtually anyone, is in constant short supply, as is Type B blood. Rare blood types are also often needed to maintain adequate inventories.

In addition to the double red cell technology, the blood center can also collect triple the amount of platelets during one donation through another automated technology system. With this “triple platelet” technology, the blood center can identify those donors with naturally high platelet counts and with blood types that tend to be more plentiful, such as A+, and offer them the option of a triple platelet donation to better meet the platelet needs of hospitals.

“The automated process is more convenient for donors, and better targets our blood and blood component needs. And it more effectively meets the challenges of maintaining a plentiful blood supply, Dr. Walsh added.

One of the largest independent blood centers in the region, Community Blood Services supplies blood and blood products to more than 30 hospitals in New Jersey and New York.

With blood donations decreasing nationwide, blood banks routinely experience blood shortages. Recent data also show that donation deferrals required to keep the blood supply safe have decreased the eligible donors in the U.S. from about 50 percent to 37 percent in the past two decades.

“We need eligible blood donors now more than ever, so we are always looking for ways to enhance the donation experience,” Dr. Walsh said.

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