San Diego hospitals discuss delaying surgeries amid blood shortages

Increased demand for blood amid ongoing supply shortages has some San Diego hospital officials worried that surgeries will need to be delayed because of a lack of available units, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Dec. 13.

Scripps Health, which operates four hospitals across San Diego County, said in a survey that conversations have begun surrounding potential delays if its blood supply shortages persist. Paul Gibbs, MD, laboratory medical director at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas, said the hospital's supply is 25 to 50 percent below normal. 

Patricia Kopko, MD, medical director of transfusion services at UC San Diego Health, said the two hospitals in the system have been falling below the goal of 80 to 90 units of type O blood in supply.

Both systems receive blood from the American Red Cross of San Diego and Imperial Counties. 

Catherine Mazzei, MD, medical director for Red Cross San Diego, told the Union-Tribune that blood has been more difficult to collect during the pandemic, and a surge in demand due to patients rescheduling previously delayed procedures has contributed to current shortages. 

Dr. Mazzei called on donors to commit to their appointments and to regularly donate.


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