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Local Blood Supplies Alarmingly Low

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – American Red Cross officials said Monday that the number of hospital patients is outpacing blood donation in the New York-Penn region.

Officals announced that this has left the blood supply at "alarmingly" low levels.

They added that many donors are not keeping their appointments, and that drastic steps may need to be taken if blood donations are not met.

Dr. Gregory Young is the Clinical Services Director of Emergency Medicine at Kalieda Health.

"It's an absolutely vital substance that we can't do with out, and something each of us has the ability to change," said Young.

He said many of his patient's families think they don't need to donate blood because others do it.

Young said he is concerned that hospitals could be forced to begin "rationing" blood if the supply remains critically low.

"I may call up on behalf of my patient in one facility and be told, right now, that patient is O-negative or A-negative, which are the two biggest types of blood that are running low. And then I have another doctor at another facility whose patient also needs blood. Then we could be forced to go into a rationing system, where we ration blood, based on the patients prognosis," said Young.

"We haven't had to do that, and I don't think any of us want to be put in that position."

Young also said there is a misconception by the public that physicians are now able to use so called "blood products" as substitutes.

But he said those alternatives do not always provide the best outcomes for patients.

Young said that to avoid rationing blood plans at area hospitals, it is crucial for people to step forward and donate.

Red Cross officials urge people to make an appointment by calling 1-800-GIVE-LIFE.