Urgent need for type O blood at Stanford Blood Center

Bay Area

The Stanford Blood Center is putting out a call across the Bay Area asking people with type O blood to donate.

The center supplies blood to several Bay Area hospitals, but an increase in need has left it dealing with a shortage.

“We do have a much higher demand right now,” Renee Gipson said.

Renee Gipson, the collections manager at Stanford Blood Center in Campbell, says a number of traumas and high usage at local hospitals is causing them to face a shortage.

“Because of the high demand at all of our hospital partners, we are short in a lot of different blood types but mainly our O blood types,” Gipson said.

Only six percent of the US population is type O negative but it’s universal, meaning anyone can receive it.

“So O positive is a very common blood type and that’s why we need a lot of it,” Gipson said.

On average, the Stanford Blood Center sends out about 50 units of O positive blood to each hospital every day — This week they sent out about three times that amount.

“We have to replenish our stores, we work very closely with transfusion services at the hospitals to make sure we’re always poised to be able to provide those products,” Gipson said.

“I never realized the power a donation has,” Emily Johnston said.

Emily Johnston became a regular donor last year after she and her husband were struck by a car in a crosswalk.

“My husband needed a blood transfusion to stay alive,” Johnston said. “I’ll never forget the moment he got his first transfusion, seeing that blood hanging and knowing someone had given a half hour of their time. Truly I cannot describe the greatest gift and amount of appreciation you have for that stranger.”

“It is a little bit of pain for a minute, but it saves up to three lives with just one unit of blood,” Gipson said.

“It’s the heroes you’ll never know who they are,” Johnston said.

As she and her husband celebrated his birthday this week, Johnston says it was a reminder of just how important it is, to give.

“If somebody hadn’t given their time, then my husband wouldn’t be alive right now. There’s not many things you can do to save a life in 30 minutes. And this is something really simple a lot of people can do,” Johnston said.

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