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‘The worst it’s ever been’: Surgeries canceled due to critical blood shortage, local donors needed

Our local hospitals say the blood supply has reached a critical low because of the pandemic – some surgeries have even been postponed due to the crisis. 

“We will have to continue to postpone surgery if we’re not able to address the supply issue soon,” said Dr. Alan Williamson, Chief Medical Officer, Eisenhower Health. 

While people with all blood types are urged to donate, the hospitals are particularly in need of O type blood. 

“Currently we have no units of O positive or O negative blood available in the hospital. And that’s a very serious problem,” said Dr. Wiliamson. 

LifeStream Blood Bank says donors have not been coming in amid rising COVID concerns. With the Omicron variant surging, many blood drives have also been canceled. 

"Omicron has decimated our blood collections,” said Dr. Rick Axelrod, President & CEO, LifeStream.

The shortage is also being felt at Desert Regional Medical Center. “Nationally and locally there is a serious blood shortage. We are experiencing that,” said Mike Ditoro, Chief Operating Officer, DRMC. 

Lifestream Blood Bank says they have started to request blood from other areas, however, the blood shortage is nationwide. 

“We are doing everything we can to get blood across the country and there is very little blood there,” said Dr. Axelrod, urging the people of Coachella Valley to schedule an appointment to donate.

During these difficult times, he says it’s a simple act that can save a life. “Donating blood can save up to 3 lives. We’re desperately in need of their support.” 

LifeStream also shared that they have strict COVID protocols in place to ensure that donating is safe for both donors and staff members. Masks are required inside the donation centers, all donors are socially distanced, all staff members are vaccinated and all equipment is sanitized after use.

You can make an appointment to donate HERE. LifeStream has donation centers in Rancho Mirage and La Quinta.

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Madison Weil

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