By Jano Tantongco
Suffolk County Legislator William Spencer (D-Centerport) stood with his legislative colleagues at the legislature building Friday to announce a blood emergency declared by the New York Blood Center, and urging members of the public to donate.
Spencer stood alongside New York Blood Center Business Development Manager Susan Lingenfelter and his fellow county legislators Robert Trotta (R-Fort Salonga), Kate Browning, Monica Martinez and Tom Cilmi.
The center’s blood supply has reportedly dropped to under a two-day supply for blood types O negative, B negative and A negative. An ideal supply would be at least seven days worth. Out of all the types, the universal O negative can be used for anyone requiring blood.
“Every two seconds in this country, someone needs blood. In New York alone, 2,000 donations are needed each day,” Spencer said. “My message as a physician, as chair of the health committee, as a legislator with my colleagues is: please donate now.”
He added that 30 percent of blood donations come from students, so summer is a particularly difficult time for the blood supply.
Spencer referenced the recent shooting in Orlando as an example of adequate blood supplies saving lives, saying that he was “particularly alarmed.”
“If that tragedy had occurred here in New York, there is concern that we would have not been able to meet the need,” he said.
Lingenfelter explained that blood is a perishable resource and reserves are especially needed in crisis situations. She said that, after donation, it can take up to 48 hours for blood to be tested, processed, separated into components, typed and shipped out to the hospital.
“The reason people survived is because people donated at a blood drive the week before, and it was already in the hospital on the shelf,” she said. “It’s a sacrificial gift you give to someone else. Without that, the doctors that did magnificent things, the nurses that helped to save those people’s lives in Orlando could not have done their job. The people would not have survived.”
In regards to Long Island, she said Long Island Blood Services, a branch of the blood center, requires 800 people to donate every day to meet demand.
To find a blood drive or blood center near you, visit NYBC.org.