Blood Officials Hope Current Interest in Donations Will Improve Southern California’s Long-Term Donation Rate
Southern California blood donation officials are hopeful that the outpouring of local donors in the wake of Tuesday's terrorist attacks represents a step toward improving the region's low donation rate, the Los Angeles Times reports. Over the past two days, thousands of people in Southern California have joined the nation in turning out to donate blood, with some waiting in line for hours. In recent years, the region has been "one of the worst in the nation for blood donations," the Times reports. According to American Red Cross spokesperson Cecilia Arevalo, 3% of Southern Californians give blood, 2% less than the national average. She added that 40% of blood used in Southern California is imported from other places, and the shortage has been exacerbated in recent years by a growing population and medical advances that have placed a greater premium on blood, such as organ transplants and cancer treatments. Arevalo said that some days, Southern California "operate[s] on just a half-day's blood supply." Officials, however, hope that the tragedy will motivate people to become repeat donors. One Red Cross official at a center in Los Angeles told first-time donors: "I congratulate you on your first time. Don't let it be your last time" (Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, 9/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.