Stanford Issues ‘Critical’ Call for Blood Donations

"Stanford Blood Center currently has a critical need for O-positive donors and Rh-negative donors of all types."

Stanford Blood Center needs an immediate influx of blood donations. (Photo: Bea Karnes, Patch)
Stanford Blood Center needs an immediate influx of blood donations. (Photo: Bea Karnes, Patch)

A seasonal drop in blood donations has produced a shortage of O-positive blood at Stanford Blood Center and a nationwide shortage of platelets and types O, A-negative and B-negative due to storms in the Midwest and East Coast, officials announced Wednesday.

According to Deanna Bolio, Stanford Blood Center spokeswoman, winter is an especially difficult time to maintain adequate supplies of blood because many blood donors are busy with the holidays, traveling or sick with a cold or flu. She said that from Dec. 30 through Sunday, collections at the blood center were about half the usual amount.

Stanford Blood Center is down to a two-day supply of O-positive, which she hopes to amp up to a safe five-day supply. Bay Area residents with type O-positive blood are being asked to come to Stanford Blood Center or visit a mobile blood drive to boost the current inventory. Appointments may be made online. Blood donation centers are located in Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Mountain View.

But it's not just Stanford that's feeling the pinch. Across the nation, this week's deep freeze caused many routine donors to stay home, leaving the blood donation centers with an inconsistent flow of platelet donors and blood donors with types O, A-negative and B-negative, according to Jared Schultzman, communications manager at the Red Cross Northern California Blood Services Region.

The Red Cross estimates that approximately 280 blood drives across 25 states were canceled due to snow and extreme cold. The blood drive cancellations resulted in a shortfall of nearly 8,400 blood and platelet donations since Jan. 2, the Red Cross reported.

According to Schultzman, residents in the Bay Area can help boost donations immediately to offset the nation's shortfall. 

In order to give blood, donors must be in good health with no cold or flu symptoms. They must eat well prior to donation, drink fluids and present a photo identification at the time of donation. The process takes about an hour.

For more information, call Stanford Blood Center at (888) 723-7831 or the American Red Cross at (800) 733-2767.

Copyright © 2014 by Bay City News, Inc., with additional reporting by Bea Karnes


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