Blood shortage prompts area emergency
FINGER LAKES (Aug. 7, 2012)—Area Red Cross groups are asking for blood donations because the organization is experiencing an emergency shortage.
Carol Oswald, director of the Yates County Red Cross, said the heat is the main reason for the shortage. She explained, “people don’t feel well, so they don’t go.” Oswald said breathing issues is one symptom preventing people from donating.
She explained the shortage started in mid-July. One new drive this summer was in Himrod. Bower said 32 people donated blood. On Aug. 7, Dundee’s blood drive was scheduled at the American Legion. Oswald said that is one of the biggest events in the area, collecting 89 units at the last drive.
Oswald added that while all blood types are needed, the Red Cross is specifically seeking O negative, O positive, A negative, and B negative. She explained that if someone gave blood in June, they should be able to donate again by August. Donors must wait at least 56 days between donations.
“If three extra people showed up to every drive, it could cut the need,” said Bower.
The United Methodist Church in Penn Yan will host a blood drive, Aug. 14, from. 11:45 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Maureen Newman, communications manager for the New York-Penn Red Cross, said nationwide the organization is at a 15-year low. An appeal was issued in June because the summer weather started earlier.
The July tornado that struck Elmira also impacted the area shortage. Newman said blood drives were canceled. She added, one thing people forget is that blood is a perishable item. It can’t be kept in storage for long periods of time. Because schools are not in session, she also said colleges and high schools aren’t holding their usual drives.
“We need to stave off further shortages,” said Newman.
Michelle Benjamin, Schuyler Hospital’s director of community relations, said blood drives held at the hospital have been collecting slightly less than normal. She explained there is usually a drop in donations during the summer.
“Any time there is a weather emergency, there is a greater need for blood,” she said.
The Moose Lodge will host a drive, Aug. 15, from noon to 5 p.m., at 1096 State Route 14 in Montour Falls.
A drive will also be held at the Schuyler County Human Services Complex in Montour Falls, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 14.
The hospital’s next drive is Aug. 20, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Seneca View Nursing Home activity room.