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Red Cross Seeks Blood Donors to Restore Supply

The agency says it might lack needed reserves if disaster were to strike.

June 28, 2005|Nicholas Shields | Times Staff Writer

Faced with a dwindling blood supply, the American Red Cross issued an alert Monday urging people to donate.

Needed most is O-negative, which frequently is used because it can be transfused regardless of a person's blood type.

As of Monday, the Red Cross had an eight-hour supply of O-negative blood in Southern California.

The organization also had about a 1 1/2 day supply of O-positive and A-negative blood, and a half-day supply of B-negative blood. A five- to seven-day supply of all blood types is considered adequate.

June and the end of the school year usually pose a challenge to the blood supply since about 60% of the region's blood comes from school donation drives, said Red Cross spokesman Stephen Whitburn.

The organization experienced a 21% drop in blood donations in the first three weeks of June, Whitburn said.

Whitburn said that without more donations, there might not be enough blood to adequately treat patients if disaster were to strike Southern California.

"Even without a disaster," he said, "we could run into a situation where a hospital does not have enough blood to perform scheduled surgeries."

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