Lifestream Blood Bank is putting out an urgent request for blood donations here in the valley. They say they are down to one day’s supply right now.
Dr. Rick Axelrod, President & CEO of LifeStream Blood Bank, showed News Channel 3 the empty shelves at their Rancho Mirage donation center on Tuesday. “We have a few units here...but nothing here, nothing here,” he said.
“Just to give you perspective, we serve 60 hospitals in the Inland Empire. We only have 40 units of group O on the shelf. That’s less than one unit of group O for each hospital we serve,” he said.
He says our local blood supply is nearly depleted and this is "the worst it has been" since the pandemic began.
Due to the COVID crisis, about 80% of Lifestream’s blood drives have been canceled since schools, churches or businesses where they typically take place have been shut down.
“Patients are really in trouble now. They really need blood...cancer doesn’t take a vacation, car accidents don’t take a vacation,” said Axelrod.
Dr. Camacho, Medical Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Desert Regional, also explained what this shortage means for his department: “With the present supply we are barely getting by,” he said.
Camacho explains without enough blood, they’ll have to start delaying life-saving treatments. They haven’t had to do this yet, but he is joining Dr. Axelrod in asking the community to step up and help. “We are down to one day supply of red cells for our patients. This is extremely critical,” he said.
You can help by donating any blood type at a LifeStream donation center or mobile blood drive.
They’ll also screen your blood for COVID antibodies, letting you know if you’ve been exposed to the virus in the past.
LifeStream also stressed their protocols in place to keep donors safe: temperature checks, mandatory masks, and each donor is spaced at least six feet apart. “We sanitize all the equipment after each use of a donor,” added Axelrod.
“It’s really very simple...it’s a lifesaving gift,” said Carol Beatty, a frequent blood donor.
You can make an appointment to donate blood by visiting lstream.org or call a LifeStream center directly.
RANCHO MIRAGE DONOR CENTER
42390 Bob Hope Drive, Suite 1B
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
LA QUINTA DONOR CENTER
Starting 11/25, the La Quinta Donor Center will be open Wednesdays from 7AM-7PM.
79-215 Corporate Centre Dr.
La Quinta, CA 92253