Critical blood shortage prompts CHLA call for donors

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Summer is always a challenging time for blood donations, but right now, Children's Hospital Los Angeles is experiencing an even more critical need for blood.

The American Red Cross, which helps supply CHLA's blood center, issued an emergency call for blood and platelet donors after 61,000 fewer donations were given during the last few months.

CHLA said their blood inventory has now reached critical levels. While no surgeries have been postponed or cancelled, the manager of CHLA's blood donor center said the need to replenish is critical.

"We are getting a notification from our big collection agencies that their supply is low so we cannot depend on them," said Charif El Masri.

At Children's Hospital Los Angeles, blood is constantly in demand for children with cancer, blood disorders and those who need surgery. But the neediest population are babies in the neo-natal intensive care unit, because they need recently donated blood.

"After a week of storage the red cells don't work as well as they're supposed to and for these little tiny babies, it's always important to get them fresh, healthy red cells," said El Masri.

The need is great, but you have the power to help. To donate at CHLA, you need to be 17 years of age or older, 110 pounds or heavier, able to provide a picture ID and able to meet certain criteria for recent travelers.

It's easy to schedule an appointment and there are plenty of openings available. Even if you can't donate, there are plenty of other ways to help.

The American Red Cross is also issuing an emergency call to action and are holding blood drives throughout Southern California so that patients can continue to receive lifesaving treatments.

Learn how you can donate.
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