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AUTOMATED BLOOD DONATIONS HELP COMMUNITY BLOOD SERVICES ADDRESS SUMMER BLOOD SHORTAGE


Summer 2012

 

Paramus, NJ (AUGUST 2012) – 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 red cell or platelet donation this summer to help save even more lives.

With blood donations decreasing nationwide, blood banks routinely experience blood shortages, especially during the summer months. 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 holidays and throughout the summer and winter months."

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

Dr. Sutton said the automated donation system utilizes technology that separates whole blood into components so specific components and blood types most critically needed by patients in community hospitals can be collected. She said the process is safe and each donation is closely monitored by trained staff.

Automated technology allows the blood center to collect two transfusable units of red cells at a single donation from donors with blood types in chronic short supply with no inconvenience to donors. She noted that Type O blood, which can be safely transfused into virtually anyone, is in constant short supply and rare blood types are also often needed to maintain adequate inventories.

In addition to the automated red cell technology, using a different automated technology system, the blood center also can 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 to donate, Dr. Sutton said.

"We are hoping those donors who meet the criteria will consider making automated donations," Dr. Sutton said. "The automated process is not only more convenient for donors, it better targets our blood and blood component needs and more effectively meets the challenges of maintaining a plentiful blood supply."

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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