PALM SPRINGS (CNS) - Two blood drives will be held in the desert today amid a dangerously low blood shortage exacerbated by blizzards in Midwest states that normally contribute crucial donations to Southern California.
“These locations are having their own inventories depleted and will be in no position to assist us for an indefinite period, even after they're up and running again,” LifeSteam Blood Bank's President and Medical Director Dr. Rick Axelrod said. “It's time for us to step up and help our own. We've got the population, I think we've got the heart, too.”
One drive will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Palm Springs Air Museum at 745 N. Gene Autry Trail.
The other -- held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. -- is at the Palm Springs Art Museum at 101 N. Museum Drive.
Participating donors at the Air Museum will receive free admission, and when mentioning code “9PBY” at registration, LifeStream will donate money toward the restoration of the famed PBY-5A World War II-era seaplane, Escalante said. Donors at both drives will receive free cholesterol screenings.
Group O blood donations are the most urgently needed as they are the most commonly used blood
“O negative is compatible with everyone so may be transfused to any patient and is especially critical to have on hand for emergency situation to help stabilize patients until their blood type can be determined -- while O positive red cells can be safely transfused to about 85 percent of the population,” Escalante said.
While the group O types are the most common, Escalante said “about 15 percent of us have a negative blood type so we're hoping more of those donors come forward.”
Donors must be at least 15 years of age, with donors under 18 required to provide written parental consent. Parent consent forms are available at the drive or at www.LStream.org.
Prospective donors must be free of infections or illness, weigh at least 110 pounds and not be at risk for AIDS or hepatitis.
For those unable to make the drives, LifeStream La Quinta, 79-215 Corporate Center Drive, is open daily from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to accept blood donations, except for Wednesday when the center is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Lifestream services more than 80 Southern California hospitals in six counties, according to Escalante.
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