Area blood bank faces ‘critical shortage’

The Chautauqua County community continues to be short on blood after winter weather canceled many recent blood drives in the area.

There have been two blood drives since the announcement by Community Blood Bank of a weather-related shortage. However, blood supplies are still at a critical low, according to Regional Mobile Drive Coordinator Kathy Hastings.

Hastings said the drive at Brooks Memorial Hospital was successful but was not enough to recover from the canceled blood drives of past weeks.

“We had a good turnout. There were 33 donors, which is up from normal,” she said. “We still haven’t recovered. We lost hundreds of donations (from the cancellations). It has been a terrible seven weeks and we are still in a critical shortage.”

Hastings said it is the worst shortage she has seen in her seven years with Community Blood Bank. Those canceled blood drives cannot be made up as schedules are full months in advance. Only additional donors can pull the region out of this shortage.

“We don’t cry shortage, but we are crying now,” she said, remarking on the seriousness of this shortage.

Upcoming blood drives will be held Feb. 17 from noon to 4 p.m. at Heritage Village in Gerry, Feb. 18 from 8 a.m. to noon at WCA Hospital and Feb. 21 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Jamestown Business College.

Photo I.D. is required but no appointment is needed to save a life.

People with Type O and Type A blood are especially encouraged to give blood, but Hastings encouraged all blood types to donate.

“We are asking anybody and everybody who is eligible to come out and donate. We still have a serious shortage. It doesn’t matter what blood type you are,” Hastings said.

Those wishing to donate can go to www.fourhearts.org to get more information and a list of upcoming blood drives.

“Hospitals need blood daily. Without donors we cannot support the hospitals. We need them,” she added.

The Community Blood Bank has been providing a safe and reliable blood supply to patients in need since 1966. Partnering with all the hospitals in Erie, Warren, McKean, Tioga and Elk Counties and Titusville Area Hospital the Community Blood Bank is the exclusive provider. The Community Blood Bank is also the preferred provider of blood products to hospitals in Chautauqua, Potter and Allegany Counties. In Chautauqua County Community Blood Bank provides blood to Brooks Memorial, Lake Shore, Westfield Memorial nd WCA hospitals. The Community Blood Bank now provides about 43,000 units of blood and blood products per year saving millions of dollars and thousands of lives in our region.

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