Cedars-Sinai Medical Center held a blood drive in its mobile donation vehicle on March 19 at an outdoor space on its campus just off San Vicente Boulevard to increase the hospital’s blood supplies.
Cedars-Sinai’s Blood Donor Services unit is spreading the message that every donation could save a life during the current public health emergency.
In response to the coronavirus, Cedars-Sinai is not allowing visitors in any inpatient areas of its hospital buildings except for people with direct connections to patients, such as caregivers. However, giving blood is considered an essential community service, and blood drives are scheduled at the Blood Donor Services office, 8700 Alden Drive, South Tower, Street Level, Room 1690. People can also find a blood drive in the community by visiting donatebloodcedars.org. The hospital is taking steps such as screenings to prevent people who may be infected with COVID-19 from spreading the disease.
“We actually felt the impact of COVID-19 [two weeks ago] when we started getting notifications from all of our high school blood drive partners, community colleges, churches and several businesses that all called to essentially cancel all blood drives because of COVID-19. That left us without about 800 units that we were planning to collect, so we are trying to make up for those units,” said Armando Romero, associate director of Blood Donor Services for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. “We are asking the public, please come support us. We obviously can’t rely on school settings anymore. It’s a big shortfall for us, and really every other hospital.”
Ninety-one people donated blood during the drive on March 19.
“We had this blood drive for folks because the need is critical, but we also have our own blood donor center inside the medical center and we are open seven days a week,” Romero said. “We urge any potential donor to give us a call at (310)423-5346. They can make an appointment and they can also walk in.”
Nicole Demelo, a nurse practitioner who works as an independent contractor for different hospitals, not including Cedars-Sinai, gave blood during the drive last Thursday. The Marina del Rey resident said blood donations can make a difference in saving lives.
“There is a critical shortage of blood right now with the cancellation of blood drives and people not giving blood,” Demelo said. “I figured I would give because I am young and healthy, so I just stopped over on my lunch break.”
The American Red Cross is also experiencing a critical blood shortage and is seeking as many donors as possible. Cedars-Sinai Blood Donor Services is independent from the Red Cross, but all blood donations are used for the same lifesaving functions.
“There is always a need. One thing that has helped is recently Cedars-Sinai has canceled all elective surgeries for now, so that has slowed down the rate of blood utilization, but we still need blood on our shelves for all of our cancer patients and trauma victims,” Romero added. “There will continue to be an ongoing need, and that’s why we are here, to make sure when somebody needs those units for transfusion they are available.”
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