LOS ANGELES - Blood banks throughout Southern California are scrambling to get enough blood donations to fulfill an increased demand.
The Red Cross and blood suppliers are calling the situation a severe emergency.
COVID restrictions and closures reduced blood drives in schools and centers that were shuttered to slow down the pandemic. But now that restrictions are easing, more people are driving… which means more crash victims are heading to emergency rooms.
They need blood, so do people undergoing surgeries postponed during the pandemic. Still, people remain hesitant to go into medical offices or blood banks to give blood.
The Inland Empire’s largest blood bank, Life Stream, has a day’s worth of certain types of highly needed blood in their inventory.
"It’s what’s keeping me alive," said 79-year-old Luz Santamaria, a leukemia patient at the Oncology Institute of Hope and Innovation.
She receives platelet transfusions regularly, as often as three times a week. We saw dozens of other patients getting hooked up to IV’s for life saving transfusions that oncologists are having to space out because of the blood shortage.
"There is no need to be afraid," said one blood donor we talked to at the San Bernardino office of Life Stream, where everyone was wearing masks, and following strict COVID safety protocols. There are plenty of ways to donate, even during COVID, explained Marilyn Jimenez Davila, at the Red Cross in Los Angeles.
Donating blood is as easy as making an appointment using the Red Blood Donor App or visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800 RED CROSS ( 1-800 733-2767).
Life Stream has centers all over the Inland Empire where people can donate blood simply by making an appointment at one of their centers, mobile blood drive units or online at lstream.org. You can also call 1-800-TRY-GIVING.
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