Carole McGraw's article (Dec. 4) about a 5% reduction in blood donors to the Los Angeles and Orange Counties Red Cross contains only part of the story. Just because the Red Cross is collecting less blood than during the same period last year does not mean that total donations are down. This is because donations to hospitals that permit patients to designate their own donors have been increasing.
Patients increasingly believe that they are less likely to get AIDS, hepatitis, and other diseases from blood supplied by the family and friends than from taking blood "potluck." The big blood collectors in most cities still refuse designated donations as a standard operating procedure, so it is not surprising that their "market share" is declining. Some of the fewer donations to the Red Cross here have been offset (the precise degree is difficult to say) by increased donations to the growing number of hospitals that permit designations (such as Cedars-Sinai and Long Beach Memorial).
ROSS D. ECKERT