Jul 26, 2023 RWJBarnabas Health Continues Urgent Call for Blood and Platelet Donations Throughout The Summer

Emergency Shortage of Type O Blood and Platelets Heightened During Summer

West Orange, NJ, July 26, 2023 – RWJBarnabas Health is continuing to make an urgent appeal for blood and platelet donations as it responds to a serious shortage at hospitals throughout the state. The entire state is currently managing with less than a 3-day supply of all blood types which is expected to drop precipitously by mid-August and continue through mid-September when schools and college start sponsoring blood drives again. Life-saving blood and platelet donations are given to patients in a wide range of circumstances including cancer care, trauma events such as car accidents and home accidents, childbirth and mass casualty events.

Historically, inventories of blood and platelets drop during the summer months when donors are on vacation or busy with family activities. With schools and colleges closed there are fewer large group opportunities to give blood. This, coupled with extreme heat and flooding storms across the country, has drastically depleted the blood supply.

Although the need for blood is large, the need for Type O blood and single donor platelets is expected to reach critical levels by August and continue into the fall. Many cancer patients depend on platelet transfusions to help them regain their strength, fight infections, and recover from cancer treatment, as well as use transfusions as a way to prevent life-threatening hemorrhages if platelet levels drop too low. Some patients, especially those who have had a bone marrow transplant or who are being treated for leukemia, may require daily platelet transfusions for several weeks.

“Current levels of Type O blood products and platelets are very worrisome as we head into peak summer vacation season,” said Sally Wells, Business Development and Community Liaison for Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s (RWJUH) Blood Donor Center. “We have already seen numerous days where there is a less than a one-day supply of Type O blood, forcing usage to be triaged based on the next available shipment. Additionally, our collection of single donor platelets is 15% less than this time last summer, threatening potential disruptions to patient care if supply doesn’t increase. We’d like to encourage all eligible New Jersey residents to visit a blood drive or one of our fixed Donor Rooms before heading out for vacation this summer.”

Here’s how you can donate:

Schedule an appointment at one of our fixed site Donor Rooms:

RWJBarnabas Health has two fixed locations, one 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 one at RWJUH Somerset, located at 110 Rehill Avenue in Somerville. Both Donor Centers are open Monday - Friday and select Saturdays.

To further encourage donations, there are special summer giveaways being held at the RWJUH Donor Center in New Brunswick such as $10 gift cards for blood donors and $20 gift cards for platelet donors as a thank you gift. Also, t-shirts and entry into bi-weekly raffles to win a family fun package to Jenkinson’s Pavilion in Point Pleasant Beach are available. Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset is offering $10 gift cards to all type O blood and platelet donors. Additionally, they are offering raffle drawings monthly for a $25 ShopRite gift card.

To make an appointment at a fixed RWJUH Donor Room or to find a blood drive location near you, please visit: https://www.rwjuhdonorclub.org. or call 732-235-8100 ext. 221.

Attend a local blood drive:

RWJBarnabas Health is hosting several blood drives across the state this summer including the following:

  • Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
    Thursday, August 3 from 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    Auditorium “A” & Atrium
    195 Little Albany Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
  • Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center
    Thursday, August 10 from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    Islami Auditorium Side B
    94 Old Short Hills Road, Livingston NJ
  • New Brunswick Islamic Center
    Saturday, August 19 from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
    1330 Livingston Ave. North Brunswick, NJ 08902
  • IBEW Local
    Thursday, August 24 from 11:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
    Training/Meeting Rooms
    1295 Livingston Avenue, North Brunswick, NJ 08902
  • Secaucus Police Dept & Comm.
    Saturday, August 26 from 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
    Secaucus Recreation Center
    1200 Koelle Blvd, Secaucus NJ
  • Monmouth Medical Center
    Tuesday, August 29 from 11:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
    Unterberg Learning Center
    300 2nd Avenue, Long Branch, NJ 07740

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.

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