SPRINGFIELD — As the cases of COVID-19 subside in the community, Baystate Medical Center has re-opened its Blood Donor Center to the public.
The Blood Donor Center is located in the hospital’s Daly Building at 759 Chestnut St. in Springfield. Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon. Appointments are necessary by calling 413-794-4600.
Only red-blood cell donations are being accepted at this time, and no platelets. Also, the Baystate Blood Donor Mobile for blood drives is currently not in service.
The re-opening comes on the heels of a nationwide blood shortage in January primarily due to the surge of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, winter months when blood donations are at their lowest, and staffing limitations that caused the closure of many donor centers nationwide and cancelled blood drives.
Dr. Chester Andrzejewski, medical director, Transfusion Medicine Services at Baystate Medical Center, noted that staff members appreciate the level of interest and the return of donors to the hospital’s Blood Bank collection efforts.
“The re-activation of our Blood Donor Center has already contributed greatly to our local inventory supplies,” said Andrzejewski. “As we continue to navigate the challenges imposed by the pandemic on our operations, the commitment of our donors encourages all of us in the work we do.
“By donating blood, an individual becomes a hero to someone by making sure there is blood on our shelves when a patient desperately needs it,” he added. “With just one donation that one individual can help save many lives.”
Every day in America, about 29,000 units of red blood cells are needed in hospitals and emergency treatment facilities for patients with cancer and other diseases, for organ transplant recipients, and to help save the lives of accident victims. And every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood and/or platelets.
At Baystate Health, 100% of all blood and platelet donations made to its Blood Donor Program are used locally in Western Mass. More than 5,000 patients at Baystate receive more than 18,000 transfusions of blood products each year.
Donors must be at least age 17, weigh at least 110 pounds, be in good health, and have a photo ID. Donors are able to give blood every eight weeks.
Masks are required to enter the hospital and to donate blood. Scheduling appointments ahead of time also ensures that the Blood Donor Center is not overcrowded and social distancing efforts are in effect.
For more information, visit baystatehealth.org/services/blood-donor.