Staff at the Community Blood Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania and Western New York continue to educate Erie County blood donors after blood drives from a Pittsburgh blood bank spurred on a critical blood shortage going into Fourth of July weekend.
“We’ve been seeing a lot of blood drives from the Central Blood Bank of Pittsburgh here in Erie County, and we want Erie County donors to understand the difference between the Community Blood Bank and Central Blood Bank,” said Deanna Renaud, mobile drive coordinator for the Community Blood Bank. “Community Blood Bank is the only supplier of blood to hospitals and patients in Erie County. That means the blood used for our family and friends at Hamot, Saint Vincent and other local hospitals only comes from the donors who give to Community Blood Bank.”
Renaud stressed that blood donations made to the Central Blood Bank of Pittsburgh are not used to help patients in Erie County; the donations are used in Pittsburgh.
“Only 5% of the general population donates blood, so we’re already working with a very small pool of donors. When other agencies come into Erie County to take the blood to Pittsburgh, it takes away from what we can provide to local patients,” said Renaud. “And that creates dangerous blood shortages here, like we are currently experiencing.”
Renaud explains that the Community Blood Bank only draws blood from the counties it serves, making donors in those counties crucial to the treatment patients receive at those hospitals.
“Hamot is the region’s trauma center, and patients are flown in from all over the tri-state area for emergency treatment. We make sure the local blood supply is available to them; we don’t go into those patients’ hometowns and justify collecting blood to make up for their treatment. That would only deplete another blood center’s available supply.”
The Community Blood Bank is the only supplier of blood in Erie, Elk, Warren, McKean, Tioga and Potter counties; it is the preferred supplier in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Allegany counties in Western New York, as well as to Titusville Area Hospital.
“It’s crucial that area donors, and especially area businesses and schools, understand that local lives depend on their support of the Community Blood Bank,” said Renaud.
In Erie at 2646 Peach Street open Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.—6 p.m. and Sat 9 a.m.-12:30p.m.