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Paramus, NJ (January 2012) – Working to reverse the impact of fewer blood donors and chronic blood shortages, Community Blood Services is encouraging eligible blood donors to make automated double red cell or platelet donation in 2012 to help save even more lives with each donation.

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.

"Automation technology can effectively increase the supply of blood and platelets for patients in our community hospitals from our existing donor base," said Dr. Millicent Sutton, medical director at Community Blood Services. "We hope that by increasing automated donations we can help alleviate reduced blood inventories that become particularly acute after the holidays and throughout the winter and summer months."

To find out more, or to schedule an appointment to donate, call toll free 866-228-1500 or Click here.

The automated donation system utilizes technology that separates whole blood into components which allows us to collect specific components and blood types that are most critically needed by patients in community hospitals. The process is safe and each donation is closely monitored by trained staff.

Automated technology allows the blood center to collect a double (two) red cell at a single donation 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. Rare blood types are also often needed to maintain adequate inventories.

In addition to the double red cell technology, using a different automated technology system, the blood center can also collect platelets or a combination of the most needed blood components during one donation. Once a donor’s weight and height qualifies him or her to make an automated donation, it takes about 60 to 90 minutes of his or her time to donate, Dr. Sutton said.

"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. Sutton added.

One of the largest independent blood centers in the region, Community Blood Services supplies blood and blood products to more than 20 hospitals in New Jersey and New York.

Donors can make automated donations at the Paramus and Lincoln Park donor centers in New Jersey, as well as various other donation sites throughout the region. In New York, automated donations can be made at the Florida Fire Department, Orange Regional Medical Center and the Warwick Middle School. Some mobile blood drives also are set up for automated donations.

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

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