Jan 31, 2023 RWJBarnabas Health Urges Blood Donations During American Heart Month

Emergency Shortage of Type O Blood and Platelets Continues Throughout the Winter Months

West Orange, NJ, February 1, 2023– RWJBarnabas Health continues its urgent appeal for blood and platelet donations, especially Type O blood, the universal blood type, this February during American Heart Month in response to a severe blood and platelet shortage statewide. The surge in respiratory illnesses this winter has exacerbated the already acute nationwide shortage, and blood suppliers are in critical need of blood products in order to meet demands.

According to America’s Blood Centers, a blood transfusion occurs every two seconds in the United States. Life-saving blood is given to patients in extensive and varied situations including to cardiovascular patients during heart transplants, open heart surgery and other cardiovascular surgeries. Other situations include cancer therapies, traumas such as motor-vehicle, industrial and home accidents, childbirth, organ transplants, and mass casualty events. Despite this, only three percent of Americans donate blood.

Blood drives across the RWJBarnabas Health system and donations from the donor rooms starting in mid-November through January 25 have yielded approximately 800 units of blood and 270 units of platelets. All blood and platelet donations at an RWJBH blood drive or donor room stay within the system and have a direct impact on local blood supply availability within a few days of being donated.

“We’d like to thank everyone who has already selflessly donated blood this winter and we continue to encourage New Jersey residents to make a donation during American Heart Month,” said Sally Wells, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Blood Services Business Development Liaison. “Our donors have already made a big impact on the shortage in the state, but blood donations can only be stored for up to 42 days and platelets must be transfused within five days of collection. The need to replenish our supply on a daily basis is always a challenge but critical to our ability to ensure an adequate supply to perform the cutting edge surgeries and advanced cancer therapies we offer patients to meet the care needs of our communities.”

RWJBarnabas Health is calling on blood donors of all types, especially Type O and platelet donors to help bolster the blood supply. Here’s how to donate:

Schedule an appointment at a fixed RWJBH Donor Room:

RWJBarnabas Health has two fixed locations, at RWJUH in New Brunswick (located on the 4th floor of the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Clinical Academic Building (CAB) at 125 Paterson Street in New Brunswick) and at RWJUH Somerset (located at 110 Rehill Avenue in Somerville). Both are open Monday-Friday and select Saturdays. For hours of operations and to schedule an appointment visit https://www.rwjuhdonorclub.org.

Attend a local blood drive:

RWJBarnabas Health is hosting several blood drives across the state in February that include:

  • Rutgers University Blood Drive
    Tuesday, February 7 from 11:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
    Commons @ The Yard
    40 College Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ
  • Raritan Valley Road Runners Blood Drive
    Saturday, February 11 from 10:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
    Reformed Church of Highland Park
    19 South 2nd Ave., Highland Park, NJ 08904
  • Monmouth Medical Center Blood Drive
    Thursday, February 16 from 11:30 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.
    Unterberg Learning Center
    300 2nd Ave. Long Branch, NJ
  • Embrace Kids Tackle Sickle Cell Blood Drive
    Saturday, February 18 from 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.
    Arline and Henry Schwartzman Courtyard
    1 Robert Wood Johnson Place, New Brunswick, NJ
  • Rahway-Scotch Plains Community Blood Drive
    Monday, February 20 from 11:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
    RWJUH Rahway Fitness and Wellness Center
    2120 Lamberts Mills Road Scotch Plains, NJ
  • Lakewood Community Blood Drive
    Tuesday, February 21 from 1:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.
    Monmouth Medical Center-Southern Campus
    600 River Avenue, Lakewood
  • Newark Beth Israel Medical Center Blood Drive
    Thursday, February 23 from 10:00 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.
    Conference Room H-3
    201 Lyons Avenue, Newark, NJ
  • Seton Hall University Blood Drive
    Tuesday, February 28 from 11:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
    Bethany Hall
    South Orange, NJ
  • Shimon and Sara Birnbaum Jewish Community Center Blood Drive
    Tuesday, February 28 from 1:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m.
    Social Hall
    775 Talamini Road, Bridgewater, NJ

To schedule an appointment at a fixed RWJBH Donor Room or an upcoming local blood drive, please visit https://www.rwjuhdonorclub.org or call 732-235-8100 ext. 221 for RWJUH in New Brunswick or 908-685-2926 for RWJUH Somerset.

Free parking is available for all blood donors. Donors must be at least 16-years old (16 -year-olds require written parental consent) and weigh at least 110 pounds (120 pounds if 16 years old). Donors must also present photo identification at the time of donation. Donors must wait at least eight weeks (56 days) between donations of whole blood and can donate whole blood up to six times per year.

Donor Centers and all RWJBarnabas Health Blood Drives have safety protocols in place to protect all donors. These include social distancing requirements in waiting areas and donation spaces, face masks required for all staff, as well as strict sanitary protocols including disinfection of donor areas. Donors may be required to wear a mask or face covering at certain donation locations.

To organize a blood drive in your community, please call Sally Wells at 732-558-4983 or email sally.wells@rwjbh.org.

About RWJBarnabas Health
RWJBarnabas Health is the largest, most comprehensive academic health care system in New Jersey, with a service area covering eight counties with five million people. The system includes twelve acute care hospitals – Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, Community Medical Center in Toms River, Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, Jersey City Medical Center in Jersey City, Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton in Hamilton, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Rahway in Rahway, and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset in Somerville; Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth; three acute care children's hospitals; Children’s Specialized Hospital, including a network of outpatient centers; a behavioral health center and the state’s largest behavioral health network; two trauma centers; a satellite emergency department; ambulatory care centers; geriatric centers; comprehensive home care and hospice programs; fitness and wellness centers; retail pharmacy services; an affiliated medical group; multi-site imaging centers; and two accountable care organizations.

RWJBarnabas Health is among New Jersey’s largest private employers – with more than 38,000 employees and 9,000 physicians – and routinely captures national awards for outstanding quality and safety. RWJBarnabas Health, in partnership with Rutgers University, is New Jersey’s largest academic health care system. The collaboration aligns RWJBarnabas Health with Rutgers’ education, research, and clinical activities, including those at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey – the state's only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center – and Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care.

Media Contact:
Carrie Cristello