LifeStream In Need of O Positive Blood, Platelets Donation Amid Severe Blood Shortage

Kamari Esquerra

It’s the season of giving and you can give a gift that saves a life this year by donating blood. 

LifeStream Blood Bank, which provides blood products and services to more than 80 Southern California hospitals, is facing a severe blood shortage. 

“It’s very serious. It’s one of the worst that we’ve had in a long time,” said Dr. Rick Axelrod, President and CEO of LifeStream Blood Bank.

Dr. Axelrod says the organization is down to “hours supply of blood”.

“All blood types are needed, but primarily group O, and then we also need people to donate platelets which are used in patients that are treated for cancer, heart surgery patients, bleeding patients, that’s really critical,” said Dr. Axelrod. 

The organization reports blood donation appointment showings decreased by 20% with only half of people actually showing up to their appointments for both blood and platelet donations.  

This holiday season has been especially challenging for the blood bank as COVID, RSV and the flu fill hospitals to capacity, forcing unhealthy patients to cancel their blood donation appointments. Combine that with the busyness of the holiday season and ‘donate blood’ gets pushed to the bottom of the ‘to-do’ list. 

“People tend not to come in as much to donate because they’re doing other things associated with the holiday season,” said Dr. Axelrod. 

And despite supply going down during this time of year, demand remains high.

“That demand doesn’t go down,” said Dr. Axelrod. “Cancer doesn’t take a holiday vacation, heart attacks don’t take a holiday vacation, premature babies that are born that need blood product don’t take a holiday vacation. All of that continues to go on.”

LifeStream must collect at least 500 blood donations daily to fulfill patient needs. 

Those who are healthy, well-feeling, and able are encouraged to give life this holiday season. 

“Patients will die… patients will die if we don’t have donors come in and be able to supply that blood,” said Dr. Axelrod. “We need you. We need you desperately now to come in and save lives.”

LifeStream will hold a blood drive next Monday, Dec. 19 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Atlantic Aviation in Palm Springs. The location address is 145 N. Gene Autry Trail. You can also schedule an appointment to donate blood at any of the centers in the Coachella Valley. Walk-ins are also welcome. For more information, visit lstream.org.

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