Countywide : Urgent Appeal for Blood Donors Issued
The Red Cross issued an emergency appeal Tuesday for blood donors in Orange and Los Angeles counties. Especially needed are supplies of blood types O and B, which are at one-third the required levels.
Nearly half the population has type O blood.
The shortage increases the chance of elective surgeries being postponed, said J. Daniel Connor, principal officer of American Red Cross Blood Services for Southern California.
Although a shortage in the blood supply is common from mid-December through mid-January, Connor said, the situation is more critical at this point because blood supplies were below normal for all of 1994 in Orange and Los Angeles counties.
“Because blood donations were down throughout 1994,” Connor said, “we began our efforts to avoid a year-end shortfall in the community blood supply during Thanksgiving week.”
“Response was very good that week,” he said, “but the number of donations dropped dramatically after that, especially during the past two weeks.”
Only 160,000 people in Orange and Los Angeles counties donated blood last year, Connor said. The counties have a combined population of 13 million.
Another problem is that only 40% to 50% of people who have appointments to give blood actually show up to make donations, Connor said.
Shortages could also be avoided, he added, if donors gave blood twice a year, instead of just once.
Among the blood drives being held by the Orange County chapter of the Red Cross is one from noon to 5:15 p.m. today at St. Joseph Medical Plaza, 1140 W. La Veta Ave., in Orange. Blood collected there will benefit patients at St. Joseph Hospital and at Children’s Hospital of Orange County.
For St. Joseph blood drive appointments, call Toni Chitty at (714) 771-8125, Ext. 5.
Blood donors can also make appointments by calling the Red Cross’ new toll-free telephone number, (800) GIVE LIFE. Donors must be 17 or older, weigh at least 110 pounds, be in good health and not be at risk for HIV/AIDS.