January 14, 2023

Padres Give Blood as Need Intensifies

Laura Nott, Live Well San Diego Support Team, on behalf of the San Diego Blood Bank

The San Diego Blood Bank has put up a red flag.

It has a dire need for blood donations as the local supply nears dangerously low levels.

“We are at about a one-and-one-half-day supply of most types of blood,” said Claudine Van Gonka, director for community relations and media. “We aim for five days’ supply, so this is concerning, to say the least.”

"Blood is unique in our healthcare system,"  Van Gonka said. "There is no substitute, and it can’t be synthetically made, so the only chance hospital patients in need of blood have are volunteer blood donors."

Multiple factors are to blame for the blood shortage, she said. A lot of people travel over the holidays, there is a lot of illness and the schools and colleges are closed. Student donations account for about 20 percent of the blood bank’s supply, she said.

In fact, January is National Blood Donation Month and the San Diego County Credit Union has partnered again with the San Diego Blood Bank to offer more convenient opportunities to donate blood.

“We like to say that people are never more than 15 minutes from a blood donation center or a mobile unit,” Van Gonka said.

Appointments are encouraged and can be made at Walk-ins are also welcome. People who would like to give blood but are unable to donate at one of the mobile blood drives can donate at any San Diego Blood Bank or Southern California Blood Bank location or blood drive by registering with donation code TEAL during check-in. Click here to find a blood drive or center or call (619) 400-8251.

Van Gonka said the blood shortage in 2022 forced the closing of many trauma centers and the postponement of elective surgeries.

To donate blood, you must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 114 pounds, and be in generally good health. Click the links to find more information on blood donor eligibility, frequently asked questions, and updated FDA requirements. The FDA made changes in 2020 and 2022 that make some people eligible to donate blood again.

Photo caption: Padre relief pitcher Tim Hill and broadcaster Bob Scanlan donate blood on Jan. 10.

Photos courtesy the San Diego Padres