August 24, 2015
Each week, between 20 and 30 Unyts blood donors are needed for babies at Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo and Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital. Fresh blood and platelet donations save the lives of premature infants and those undergoing surgery for cancer, trauma or burns. Many critically ill children require fresh blood continuously if they are undergoing ECMO (a procedure that takes over the work of their lungs and heart), or heart-lung bypass.
The problem is that blood required for children is different than blood needed for adult patients, which poses availability challenges, as follows:
1. Blood for babies must be less than five days old, which creates an ongoing need, particularly during weekends and holidays when fewer people tend to donate.
2. Donors with blood type “O” are needed for Pints for Half-Pints donations, and CMV negative donors are required for infants. Only 20% of the U.S. population is CMV negative.
To better supply babies and children in WNY in need of blood, Unyts is asking type O donors to participate in the Pints for Half-Pints program, and commit to donating at least four times per year. This helps with scheduling donors, to better predict their ability to supply the blood needs of babies in our region. Donations are most needed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
To become a part of the Pints for Half-Pints donation program, donors must be in good health with no recent surgeries or dental work. To make it easy, donors are permitted to donate blood every 56 days at any of the Unyts neighborhood donation centers or at any Unyts mobile blood drive located near you.