January 7, 2004 - Posted at 4:20 p.m. CDT
MEMPHIS, TN - With blood supplies low, hospitals in Memphis, Tennessee are delaying surgeries and urging patients to recruit their own donors.
Methodist University Hospital had only nine units of O-positive blood yesterday, down from its usual supply of 130 to 160.
Blood donations are generally low in January, but authorities say even fewer donors than usual are stepping forward this year.
Blood supplies are also low at the Regional Medical Center, the three-state area's main trauma hospital, but surgeries were not yet being postponed.
At Lifeblood, the region's blood center, the overall supply was 30 percent of recommended levels.
Bad weather and holiday schedules have taken their toll on donations, while tighter federal guidelines mean more potential donors are being turned away.