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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Blood Shortage at SBU Medical Center

    A recent e-mail from the University Blood Services expressed urgency concerning shortages of type O and O- blood. The e-mail, sent out by Assistant Director of Blood Services Jennifer Peace, stated that ‘type O and O- blood supplies are at a critically low level’ and that it was the recommendation of the American Red Cross (ARC) to delay ‘elective surgical procedures which will require type O red blood cells.’

    Dennis Galanakis, director of Blood Services at SBUMC, stated that the situation is indeed a serious one.’Our hospital uses 40 to 60 units of blood a day,’ he said.

    Citing evidence of declining attendance at blood drives, the situation concerning the shortage has been further compounded because of cyclical summertime droughts in blood donation, according to Galankis.

    ‘We are critically short at the end of the summer because people are not here to donate. It is important that Stony Brook have its shortage resolved,’ Galankis added.

    He continued, ‘We are the only medical school hospital on Long Island and therefore we receive a lot of patients from the county and beyond. We have complex diseases that need blood transfusions including burn patients, sick newborns, complicated pregnancies, trauma, leukemia, and other cancers.’

    It is widely known in the medical arena that types O and O- blood are very important for hospitals due to certain biological factors. Blood can be classifies into four main groups, A, B, AB and O, each of which have positive and negative forms. A and B are dominant, and O is recessive. The blood type is determined by which of these proteins, either A or B, you have in your blood cells, with type O blood having neither one. Thus, people who have type O- blood can donate their blood to anyone, since it cannot be rejected. This is why it is in the greatest demand.

    Again restating the message, Galankis said ‘We urge the students and faculty to donate in whatever blood drive is convenient for them.’

    According to the American Red Cross web page, in order to donate blood, the donor must be in good physical standing. A donor can be anywhere between the ages of 17 and 75, and must weigh at least 110 pounds as well. Most medications do not interfere with eligibility, and even diabetics on insulin or people on cholesterol and blood pressure medications can donate.

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