Facing shortage, N.J.seeking blood donations

Blood supplies in New Jersey are running low and officials are asking residents to help meet the need.

Blood donations usually drop during the summer months, and this year is no different.

New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd is encouraging employers to have workplace blood drives.

“Especially now in difficult economic times, there are fewer opportunities to recognize employees, and this is one of the ways that you can engage your employees in something that really helps individuals,” she said. “A person who donates can save three lives in one day and, really, there’s no greater way to give back to your community than that.”

The Community Blood Council of New Jersey says there’s a shortage of type O-negative blood.

“There are problems where the hospitals are in need and what comes in goes right out to them to stock their shelves,” said Dino DiStefano of the council. “You know, even though there’s a 42-day shelf life on whole blood, it doesn’t stay on the shelves for 42 days. We’re lucky if it’s on there for five days.”

So far, the shortage has not forced hospitals to postpone any surgeries.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.