CINJ experts to comment on importance of blood donation

Every two seconds, there is someone in the United States in need of blood. According to the American Red Cross, 65 percent of the American population is eligible to donate blood, but only five percent actually do. In New Jersey only two and a half percent of eligible donors will donate, while nine out of ten New Jersey residents will need blood at least once in their lives.

Donating blood is important year-round, but it becomes especially vital around the holiday season and January when donor turnout is typically low due to inclement weather, busy holiday schedules and flu season. The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ) is making experts available to comment on the importance and uses of blood donations, especially for children with blood disorders treated at CINJ. CINJ is a Center of Excellence of UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Blood donations are not only used for emergency surgery, but also for everyday needs such as transfusions and treatments for ill children who suffer from blood disorders like sickle cell disease or thalassemia. Many of these children are treated at the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center, which is a component of the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program at CINJ. The center provides for a statewide referral program for the diagnosis and management of sickle cell disease and other related blood illnesses.

CINJ experts available for comment include:

Richard Drachtman, MD, is the interim division chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at CINJ, and a professor of pediatrics at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. His expertise/research interests include pediatric oncology, hematology and sickle cell disease.

Michelle Neier, MD, is a pediatric hematologist/oncologist at CINJ and an assistant professor of pediatric hematology/oncology at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Dr. Neier's clinical interests include sickle cell disease and pediatric melanoma.

Beth Savage, RN, MSN, CPNP, is a pediatric nurse practitioner who works with Dr. Drachtman in examining and treating pediatric sickle cell patients and others with varied blood disorders at CINJ.

Source: Cancer Institute of New Jersey

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