Area Agency Issues Appeal for Blood

A statewide blood shortage has hit Ventura County, prompting a local agency on Friday to appeal to local residents to give blood.

United Blood Services, the sole nonprofit blood provider serving all eight hospitals in Ventura County, issued a plea due in part to a shortfall of 582 donors last month, spokeswoman Patty Hunt said.

United Blood Services also supplies blood used by county patients when they are treated at UCLA Medical Center, Cedars Sinai Medical Center or the City of Hope. "As the stewards of the local blood supply, we are obligated to be much more vocal about letting Ventura County residents know that their blood donations are needed regularly to assure county residents have blood available," said Carolyn Tyner, executive director. "We just aren't able to be silent heroes any longer."

One reason for the shortfall is that many of the group's regular donors participated in a Los Angeles radio station promotion for the blood bank that serves Los Angeles County, said Ernie Shaffer, director of hospital services.

"Those donors have assured us they will be coming back to donate for local patients again when they are eligible in October, but we need additional donors right now," Shaffer said.

United Blood Services has donor centers in Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo, Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley. Donors can phone the group's hotline at 800-715-3699 to make an appointment.

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