LifeStream Blood Bank announced today it is facing a
"critical" shortage of donated blood, putting surgical patients at risk of having their procedures canceled.
"The situation is extremely serious,'' LifeStream CEO and President Dr. Rick Axelrod said. "We are very, very low on all blood types; surgeons can only do so much without an ample blood supply. On behalf of patients they assist, I implore the community to come forward and help.''
According to the nonprofit, the dire blood shortage could affect cancer patients, accident victims and newborn babies in need of crucial surgeries.
Blood collected through donations to LifeStream flows to more than 80 hospitals in Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura and San Diego counties.
During the first few weeks of the coronavirus outbreak, protective stay-at-home orders forced the cancellation of more than 80 LifeStream blood drives throughout Southern California, resulting in 5,000 pints of blood effectively lost from mid-March through the end of May.
The nonprofit has struggled to fill its blood drive calendar in the months since.
Potential donors must wear face coverings while donating, have their temperatures checked and complete a review of possible COVID-19 symptoms, though fully recovered coronavirus patients are urged to donate.
Donors must be at least 15 years old, weigh at least 115 pounds, be free from infections or illnesses and not be at risk of having AIDS or hepatitis.
Those under 17 years old must bring written consent from a parent. Appointments are recommended and can be made by calling 800-879-4484 or online at www.lstream.org.