Are we losing blood? Dispute over how to get it has one West Side blood center in tatters

An outcry is being raised in Manhattan to save a blood center that provides emergency transfusions to eight hospitals in the metropolitan area.

The problem: In 2000, the Greater New York Blood Center (GNYBC) switched buildings in the middle of renovations to increase its space. What was supposed to be an easy move turned into a battle when the company that leased the space was tired of the GNYBC’s demands for additional concessions, such as a lease extension. GNYBC claims it spent $5 million to conduct renovation work, and now needs the building back.

The blood center’s supporters say that the fight is less about space than the nonprofit’s ongoing battle to ensure that eligible recipients can get blood.

Patients at St. Vincent’s Hospital need up to 75 blood donations a day, for example, many times in the early morning hours after patients arrive for surgery. But as GNYBC executive director Dina Nolley recently told a news conference, there is “a critical shortage of blood in the New York metropolitan area, and this can only be resolved by action.”

Meanwhile, the situation in New York is being compared to a similar one in California, where a blood center faced a similar problem, but worked out a settlement that still satisfied GNYBC supporters who view the blood center as important for the region.

So who is right?

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