VA NY Harbor Healthcare System
Healthcare heroes give the gift of life
NEW YORK — On a bright and otherwise uneventful Wednesday, a line of nurses, doctors, and facility staff – standing six feet apart from one another to remain physically distant – began to form outside the atrium of the VA New York Harbor Healthcare System’s Manhattan Campus.
While the atrium normally hosts events appreciating our healthcare providers, today, it is our frontline staff giving back to the community in the form of blood donations.
“We usually come to Harbor VA twice a year in January and July, but with the pandemic, it’s been much more difficult to organize blood drives,” Javier Jimenez, account manager for the New York Blood Center said.
Blood drives held in the community prove to be more convenient for donors, which helps generate more donations and spread awareness about the need for both blood and blood products like plasma and red blood cells.
“I’m happy to be able to help our community in a way that we aren’t normally able to. It’s really hard to make a separate trip to the blood center, so having the blood center come to us makes it much easier to donate,” Sarah Stein, chief of the recreation and creative arts therapy program said.
Kurt Binder, IT specialist for Harbor, continued: “I have a rare blood type, B-negative, so I like to donate as often as I can. Having the blood center come to us is very convenient.”
But the pandemic has drastically reduced the number of blood drives the New York Blood Center can conduct.
“Normally, the New York Blood Center is able to hold 25-30 blood drives per day outside of our facilities. But since COVID began, we are down to about five on-location blood drives per day,” Jimenez continued. “It’s a big challenge finding places where we can set up our equipment while keeping both staff and donors safe through physical distancing.”
While COVID prevented members of the community from donating at this time, our colleagues at Harbor delivered on their behalf.
“Based on the number of donors who volunteered today, we received more than 40 donations, which is more than we normally receive. We can’t thank Harbor VA enough for hosting us today,” Jimenez said.