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San Jose Shooting Prompts Stanford Blood Center to Step Up Donations Efforts

June 2, 2021 by Alexa Hornbeck
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo stops to view a makeshift memorial for the rail yard shooting victims in front of City Hall in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Haven Daley)

The mass shooting of nine people at a San Jose light rail yard last Wednesday morning prompted the Stanford Blood Center, headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., to spring to action to support the victims.  

“On Wednesday morning, we got a request from Santa Clara Valley Medical Center’s Level One Trauma Center asking for a significant amount of type O blood,” said Ross Coyle, public relations officer of Stanford Blood Center.  

“When we received the order, we were aware of the shooting. The Santa Clara Valley medical center is not a facility where we send blood on a regular basis. We thought the request might be related, and it turns out that was the case,” said Coyle.  

The Stanford Blood Center sent 30 units of type O positive blood, and 5 platelets to the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center at their request.  

“On average, we send about 60 units of 0 positive blood out each day to support patients in our partner hospitals, and this was 50% more than we send normally on a daily basis to partner hospitals.”  

Coyle confirmed that at the time there were no additional patients being treated at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, and that all of the blood was requested for victims of the shooting who all worked for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

“Unfortunately, the patients transported to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center passed away, and we didn’t receive any additional requests from the medical center, or any other centers on that day, or the day after,” he said. 

The medical examiner’s office in Santa Clara County identified the victims last Wednesday night as Paul Delacruz Megia, 42, Taptejdeep Singh, 36, Adrian Balleza, 29, Jose Dejesus Hernandez, III, 35, Timothy Michael Romo, 49, Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40, Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63, Lars Kepler Lane, 63, and Alex Ward Fritch, 49.  

For Coyle, this the first time in his two years of working at the blood center that a horrific event has triggered the need to lend an extra hand of support. The center is still calling on the community to donate 0 positive blood, through emails and content on the website.  

The need for blood is constant, and Coyle said it’s important for the center to replenish its inventory of blood on a regular basis, so that it will be available on the shelves at a moment’s notice for critical situations like the San Jose shooting.   

Other than the Palo Alto headquarters, the Stanford Blood Center operates from three fixed donation sites in Campbell, Mountain View, and Menlo Park.  

Before COVID-19, the center performed 500 mobile community blood drives a year, and Coyle said that about half of the blood collected on a yearly basis comes from these community blood drives. The center said that receiving a Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine does not affect eligibility to donate. 

“It’s a great way to give back to your community, it takes an hour of time, and a single donation can help multiple patients. Nothing has such a direct impact at helping save lives,” said Coyle.  

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