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Blood Supply Critically Low

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Blood levels are, once again, very low across the region. The American Red Cross is issuing an emergency appeal for the second week in a row.

The region's blood inventory is at a critical level.

The Red Cross reports that it has dropped to just a little more than a one day supply.

Dr. Keith Kraybill is Director of Laboratories at Kaleida's Buffalo General Hospital. Kraybill said the blood levels are "surprisingly low."

"It puts us two days shorter than we normally have in the Summer. During the rest of the year we really try to have a five day supply on hand," said Kraybill. "And when you only have a one-day supply after a holiday, it really puts you behind the eight ball."

Kraybill said that while there are no guarantees that local donations will stay in Western New York, the Red Cross does its best to process the blood for local hospital needs.

"They make it ready for us to use by delivering to each of the hospitals. Each hospital, depending on its size, may use from ten to 200 units a day," said Kraybill. "That allows us to work with surgeons for scheduled surgeries, or emergency surgeries and traumas that may occur."

The Red Cross said there is normally a 10 to 15-percent drop in blood donations during the summer months. And a higher demand for blood this season is outpacing collections.

"It makes all of us in the community some what worried that some unexpected surprise could really put a strain on necessary medical treatment," said Kraybill.

Dr. Kraybill said, historically, the Buffalo area does a very good job in meeting its blood needs and people don't shy away from giving.

But Kraybill offers an interesting footnote.

He said with a strong aging population in Erie County, many residents have rolled up their sleeves more than once a year, for 30-years.

But he said now it is time to recruit younger blood donors.