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GIVING BLOOD GREAT GIFT; SUPPLIES RUN LOW ACROSS SOUTHLAND.

Byline: Greg Botonis Staff Writer

Health officials appealed Wednesday for help in replenishing the blood supply for Southern California, which they say is at a critical level.

``Every single year at this time, without fail, we have a severe blood shortage,'' said Ellen Gaines, blood services coordinator at Antelope Valley Hospital. ``People are vacationing and get busier, and they just forget to donate. But the need for blood remains constant, so the levels become critical.''

Officials with the American Red Cross said they have just 17 percent of the desired inventory of O-positive and 3 percent of O-negative blood necessary to maintain a stable supply for the Southland.

``O-negative is the greatest need,'' said Gaines. ``But we need all types.''

More than half of the general population has O-positive blood, officials say. And O-negative is a universal type often used in emergencies.

According to Red Cross officials, if blood supplies are not restocked, some elective surgeries at Southern California hospitals may have to be postponed.

Gaines said the need for blood is even more critical this year because of a 20 percent increase in blood usage by hospital patients.

``We don't know what the increase in usage was caused by, but we know there was a sharp increase,'' said Gaines.

Antelope Valley Hospital's donor center provides 60 percent to 65 percent of the blood used at the facility, and outside supplies - primarily from the Red Cross - make up the rest. Nearly 40 percent of the blood supplied by the Red Cross is brought from centers out of the area.

``We see about a 40 percent decrease in donations this time of year,'' said Gaines. ``With the donations decreasing and the usage increasing, it could be really bad. A lot of these patients are patients with chronic illnesses, and they rely on the blood supply to replace what they need.''

To donate or for more information, call (805) 949-5622.

THE FACTS

Potential blood donors must be at least 18 years old, or 17 with written permission from a parent or guardian. They must weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health with no symptoms of cold, flu, infection or unstable medical conditions. Additionally, donors must have no history of cancer, hepatitis, HIV or associated risk factors.

WHEN & WHERE

The American Red Cross Bloodmobile will collect blood at several Antelope Valley locations during July. The Red Cross advised people to call (800) 974-2113 for appointments to donate.

Tuesday, July 13 - 1:30-7:30 p.m. at Lancaster United Methodist Church, 915 W. Ave. J, Lancaster.

Thursday, July 15 - 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at High Desert Hospital, 44900 60th St. W., Palmdale.

Sunday, July 18 - 8:15 a.m.-2:15 p.m. at St. Mary's Church, 1600 E. Ave. R-4, Palmdale.

Sunday, July 18 - 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Beth Knesset Bamidbar, 1611 E. Ave. J, Lancaster.

Monday, July 26 - 1-7 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church, 856 W. Newgrove St., Lancaster.

Tuesday, July 27 - 1:30-7:30 p.m. at Lancaster United Methodist Church, 918 W. Ave. J, Lancaster.

CAPTION(S):

2 Photos, 2 Boxes

PHOTO (1--Color) Mike LeFebvre of Lake Los Angeles gives blood Wednesday in Lancaster, where supplies are low.

(2) Martha Ledwidge and Mike LeFebvre, members of the Greater Antelope Valley Association of Realtors, give blood, assisted by Eileen J. Butena, in back, and Carol Leahy.

Jeff Goldwater/Daily News

BOX: (1) THE FACTS (See text)

(2) WHEN & WHERE (See text)
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jul 8, 1999
Words:581
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