March 23, 2020

UCLA Patients Need Blood Donations

By Elaine Schmidt

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, Los Angeles County just issued a “Safer at Home” order.

But UCLA Health hospitals in Westwood and Santa Monica are facing a critical shortage of donated blood, which many patients depend on to survive. Can people still leave their homes to donate blood?

The answer is a resounding yes, according to Dr. Dawn Ward, medical director for the UCLA Blood & Platelet Center.

“Blood donation is considered an essential service that is exempt from the Safer at Home directive,” explained Ward. “Cancer patients, trauma patients, mothers delivering babies, babies born in critical condition, and patients undergoing surgeries still frequently require blood transfusions.

“When blood is not available, the risk to our patients can make the difference between life and death,” she added.

What about donors? Is it safe for them to come to the donation center?

“Absolutely,” assured Ward. “We are following every precaution recommended by the American Association of Blood Banks to keep our staff and donors safe.” In fact, the U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams posted a tweet emphasizing the continuous need for blood and urging healthy people to donate. First, schedule your donation online. This will enable the blood center to stagger appointments and ensure six feet of space between all donors and staff in the lobby and collection room.

“We are prescreening all donors for fever, encouraging everyone to follow strict hand hygiene, and increasing cleaning within our facilities -- including cleaning the donor bed and other surfaces between every donation,” said Ward. Additional eligibility and safety measures can be found on the UCLA Blood & Platelet Center’s website.

“While these are uncertain times, our doctors and nurses will always need blood to treat our patients,” emphasized Ward. “Please join us in saving lives.”

Tags: Blood Center, blood donation, blood donor, blood transfusions, Cancer, cancer, coronavirus, featured, Hospital, Infectious Diseases, trauma

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