The leader of an Inland Empire blood bank said Wednesday rapidly dwindling supplies are putting surgeries at risk and creating other complications for medical facilities in the region, prompting a year-end appeal for people to make blood donations.

“We have less than a one-day supply of red blood cells available, and several of our hospitals have no type O red blood cells on their shelves,” LifeStream CEO Dr. Rick Axelrod said. “This is a national crisis, and we are unable to receive help from other blood centers.”

“Currently, we have a hospital with four patients waiting on surgeries because of the blood shortage,” he said. “Hospitals will most likely have to cancel elective surgeries and may not have enough blood for severe traumas.”

LifeStream serves more than 80 Southern California medical facilities. According to the nonprofit, COVID vaccination status is not a factor at any of its donation sites, where the desperately low stocks of product have left them scrambling for solutions.

“This shortage puts patient care at risk, and we ask our community to stand with those patients and their loved ones by `rolling up a sleeve’ and sharing their most precious gift,” Axelrod said.

The blood bank has donation sites in Riverside, Rancho Mirage, Moreno Valley, La Quinta, Murrieta and other places, which can be found at, or by calling 1-800-879-4484.

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