United Blood Services, the sole provider of blood to Ventura County hospitals, has issued an urgent plea as it enters the two worst donation weeks of the year with an unusually low supply.
Swamped by cancellations because of recent storms and holiday activities, the group is asking past donors to return and is trying to encourage as many new donors as possible. Specifically, types O-positive, O-negative and A-positive, the three most common types, are sought.
"The combination of bad weather and the holidays is killing us," said Carolyn Chubbs, donor resource director, who said 60 of about 180 donors canceled appointments on stormy days last week and this week. Meanwhile, donations during the holiday season usually drop to their lowest level of the year--less than half the average annual amount.
Unless help is received, county blood supplies will drop by one-third, Chubbs said. Federal law limits the storage time of blood to 35 days, she said.
What will not decline is the demand: Although fewer surgeries are scheduled, more accidents occur during the holidays, Chubbs said.