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San Diego Blood Bank facing critical type O blood shortage

san diego blood bank donation
Posted at 8:10 AM, Dec 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-30 18:42:48-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)-- Blood banks around the nation are experiencing a supply shortage. Locally, the San Diego Blood Banks is urging folks to donate during this seasonal low, especially if you are an O- blood type.

Every drop counts when talking about blood.

"It could be a life or death situation for someone in the hospital who needs it," San Diego Blood Bank PR Manager, Claudine Van Gonka, said.

Right now, the supply at the San Diego Blood Bank is critically low. The reason: regular donors are on vacation.

"About 15% to 20% of our blood that we collect comes from colleges and high schools blood drives," Van Gonka said. "So marry that with folks who are sick, and not being able to donate for different reasons, and you have this perfect storm."

Bringing a little sunshine to that perfect storm is Scott Wilbur.

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"We're done with Christmas, and the kids are playing with toys, so I came on down," Wilbur said.

He is an O+, which is the most popular blood type for Americans.

"Somebody out there needs blood, so it feels good to help," Wilbur said.

He is helping to resupply the low stock. The shortest supply right now is O-. The American Red Cross says a person with an O- blood type is a universal donor. Blood banks must have plenty of O blood in stock during the holiday season because traditionally, there is an increase in DUI's and car crashes. This requires more people to get blood transfusions.

"People in accidents in things, in situations that there is no time to 'type' them, can only receive O- blood, so it is very imperative that people come out and donate," Van Gonka said.

This year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration forecasts around 800 people nationally will die in car crashes between Christmas Eve and January 2, 2020. But with ample blood supply, that number could be lowered.

A little poke now, and a couple of minutes with the stress ball, can save a life.

"Don't wait for another week or wait until it's convenient," Van Gonka pleaded. "If you have the opportunity to come now, we ask that you come right now."

If you are interested in donating, make sure you fit the criteria.

A donor must:
-Be at least 17 years old
-weigh at least 114 lbs.
-be in general good health
-not be pregnant
-not be taking antibiotics

To donate, it is recommended you make an appointment here. Walk-ins are also welcome.