Stanford Blood Center Has Critical Need For Type-O Blood

Attention News Desk: Press Release (for immediate release)
Michele Gassaway (650) 723-8237
Michelle Brandt (650) 723-0272
MA Malone (650) 723-6912

STANFORD, Calif. – The Stanford Blood Center is critically low in type-O blood at a time when demand is high, and is urging area residents to donate blood before the holidays. Among the local patients currently in need of type-O blood are a teenager awaiting a heart transplant, two adults with gastrointestinal bleeding and a liver transplant patient.

The blood center is far below minimum inventory, with only 149 units of O-positive blood (the minimum desired inventory is 200), and 17 units of O-negative blood (minimum inventory 75).

“Patients in hospitals continue to need blood during the holidays,” said Michele Gassaway, spokesperson for the blood center. “We rely on people to donate the gift of life. Patients use blood everyday, even on Christmas, and this is one gift that doesn’t cost anything to give.”

Gassaway noted that on Dec. 17 the blood center collected 27 units of O-negative blood, while Stanford Hospital alone used 28 units that day. “We are barely keeping up with demand. If 28 units of blood are used, that means that 28 people had to donate,” she said. Only 7 percent of people in the United States are O-negative, which adds to the challenge of collecting that type.

Closure of collection centers and the lack of mobile blood drives during the holiday season compound the difficulty. Normally, approximately 50 percent of blood is collected on mobile blood drives but only one drive is scheduled the week of Christmas. “People are on vacation and most companies close down for the week of Christmas,” said Doreen Leith, mobile blood drive supervisor. “We have to find a way to make up the difference.”

The blood center, located at 800 Welch Road in Palo Alto (near Stanford Hospital), will have special holiday hours Dec. 20 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Dec. 21 from 8 a.m. to noon; and Dec. 23 from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Stanford Blood Center of Mountain View, located at 515 South Drive (near El Camino Hospital), will be open Dec. 20 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Dec. 21 from 8 a.m. to noon; and Dec. 23 from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Stanford Blood Center supplies blood to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Stanford Hospital & Clinics, the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, El Camino Hospital and O’Connor Hospital in San Jose.

Donors can call (650) 723-7831 or toll-free (888) 723-7831 to make an appointment, learn hours of operation and get directions. Donors should be in good health with no cold or flu symptoms. They must eat well prior to donation, drink fluids and present photo identification at the time of donation. The process takes about an hour, and a single donation can help up to three different patients. For more information or to schedule an appointment online, please visit

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Stanford University Medical Center integrates research, medical education and patient care at its three institutions – Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. For more information, please visit the Web site of the medical center’s Office of Communication & Public Affairs at