Last week the Parents and Teachers Organization of the Rancho Santa Fe School in Rancho Santa Fe sent out questionnaires to parents of 250 students, asking the parents' blood types and asking if they would be willing to donate blood if their types were ever matched with some person living in the community who needed a transfusion. Jan Hunter, chief organizer of the project for the Parents and Teachers Organization, says that the idea for a blood list came about last year when a Rancho Santa Fe resident was preparing to undergo open-heart surgery. Neither his doctor nor his family wanted him to receive blood from the San Diego Blood Bank, “So last spring we made the decision to come up with a list. That family was worried about communicable diseases [specifically AIDS].” I'm not saying that we al don't want blood from the San Diego Blood Bank. The list is being made to address the needs of people who might have those concerns," Hunter says.
Lynn Stedd, community relations coordinator for the San Diego Blood Bank, has help the Parents and Teachers Organization put together its blood list program, but admits that no other blood donors in the county are using the same approach as the citizens of Rancho Santa Fe. "And it's not the kind of thing we encourage," she says. "Our screening methods are the most effective and the chances of getting AIDS through a transfusion are roughly one in one million." The problem with drawing up a list of that kind, she says, is its "implied pressure — people who may have legitimate reasons for not wanting to donate (for example, someone who has had hepatitis) could feel compelled to donate out of fear of falling under transcription. But such fears do not seem to dissuade the citizenry of Rancho Santa Fe. When asked if anyone in Rancho Santa Fe had AIDS, an employee involved with the blood list drive chuckled and replied, "I don't think we do."