Area faces a winter blood shortage
TRI-COUNTY AREA—The American Red Cross and area hospitals are experiencing a blood shortage due to winter.
“It’s worse than most winters,” said Carol Oswald, Yates County Red Cross executive director.
She explained that during the winter blood drives are canceled more often due to the weather, so less blood is donated. She said the Yates agency has added two more locations to hold drives, in Rushville and Middlesex. She added the drive times are also being lengthened to get more donations.
Despite the shortage, there are several high points for the area. There have already been seven blood drives held in Yates County so far this year. Oswald said the drives during January and February generally exceeded their goals by 50 percent. One new January blood drive was held at the Arc of Yates in honor of Cheryl Poole. Oswald said the agency used the drive to encourage health and wellness, and in doing so collected 62 units of blood. Most recently, a blood drive was held at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital, Wednesday, March 2.
“Being a small, community hospital, the scope of services at Soldiers & Sailors creates less of a need for blood than larger facilities. Nevertheless, we still want to have a sufficient supply when needed,” said Loree MacKerchar, manager of community relations for Soldiers & Sailors. “To support that objective, we (Finger Lakes Health) work with the American Red Cross to help keep the blood supplies at healthy levels. We have blood drives several times a year at each of our three main campuses.”
Wendy Marble, Schuyler Hospital medical technologist, said the shortages are also caused by people having colds and the hospital simply needing more blood during the winter. She said some people come in more during the winter because they are anemic.
In addition to the drives coordinated by the Red Cross, Marble said the hospital holds four throughout the year; two of which are in January and February. She explained the hospital tries not to schedule too many because employees don’t have a lot of time to donate. Marble added that when the hospital does the drive, it gets the credit.
“The cost of blood is up,” she said, so holding its own drive is beneficial to the hospital.
Oswald said giving blood takes about an hour; though only 10 minutes is needed for actually donating blood. Screenings and waiting take up the rest of the time. She added the Red Cross does encourage people to make appointments. Oswald said the regional office sends staff to a blood drive based on the number of appointments.
There are several opportunities to give blood in the coming months:
March 15, at the Dundee Central School, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
March 17, at the Branchport Fire Department, 1:30 to 6:30 p.m.
March 24, at the Hammondsport Fire Department, 11:45 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.
April 5, at the Dundee American Legion, 12:15 to 6:30 p.m.
April 7, at Cargill Salt, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
April 9, at the Arthur E. Bouton Post 770 in Trumansburg, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
April 11, at the Tyrone Fire Department, 12:45 to 5:45 p.m.
April 12, at the Penn Yan United Methodist Church, 11:45 a.m. to 6 p.m.