Today’s news:

Every day, hospitals in the United States need approximately 39,000 units of blood for patients with cancer and other diseases, accident victims and organ transplant recipients. During the winter months, because of illness, travel schedules, bad weather and holidays, blood is often in short supply. January, in particular, is difficult – perhaps for that reason, it has been designated National Blood Donor Month.

Since there is no substitute for blood, the generosity of blood donors ensures that hospitals maintain an adequate supply of blood for their patients. Donors who give directly to their local hospitals help both patients and the hospitals to stay healthy – hospitals save the cost of purchasing blood from an outside blood bank when donors give directly to the hospitals’ blood banks.

In honor of National Blood Donor Month, New York Methodist encourages donors to give or pledge to give blood to NYM’s Blood Bank, either during regular hours for walk-in blood donations or at one of hospital’s many blood drives throughout the month. In 2008, patients at NYM required more than 9,000 units of blood.

New York Methodist has one of only four permanent blood donation centers in Brooklyn. Regular donor walk-in hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and other hours by appointment.

NYM’s blood bank is in the lobby of the Hospital’s Medical Office Pavilion, 263 Seventh Avenue. The hospital will also host community blood drives January 22-24 at the Park Slope Food Co-op, 782 Union Street and January 25 at Congregation Beth Elohim, 274 Garfield Place in Park Slope.

To be eligible to give blood, donors must:

Be between 17-75 years old; weigh at least 110 pounds, be in good physical health the day you donate and not have donated whole blood in the last 56 days or platelets in the last three days. Donors, who are 16 years of age and in good health, can donate blood provided that they have parental consent.

For more, call 718-780-3644 or email Grace Gehrke, blood donor recruiter at donateblood@nym.org.

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