SAN ANTONIO – The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center is asking for help.
The increasing demand for blood is outpacing local collections, the organization said Thursday.
The group said it’s issuing an emergency appeal for donations, to boost dangerously low inventories and meet growing patient needs.
Although the center has collected 9% more blood in 2019 than it did in 2018, the rising demand for blood is top of mind, Chief Operating Officer Elizabeth Waltman said.
“This month, we have shipped 12% more blood to hospitals than we have collected,” Waltman said. “Without a significant increase in blood donations, hospitals may have to review each transfusion situation to focus on the most critical needs, delaying transfusions in some cases. With the holidays approaching, we need to get ahead of the situation, because collections typically decline, but patients’ needs do not.”
The group is looking for type O-negative donors especially.
About 12% of the orders from South Texas hospitals are O-negative, according to a news release from the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center.
O-negative donors make up just 7% of the population, the center added.
All blood types are needed; O-negative demand is just especially high.
O-negative blood can be used for any patient in an emergency.
Samantha Aguirre, of San Antonio, is one of the people who has been affected by a shortage, the center said.
She was treated for breast cancer and needed blood transfusions. But because her type is O-negative, she had to wait to receive the critically needed blood.
“I have to say, it really, truly helped me – and basically saved my life,” Aguirre said.
If you’re inclined to help, you can schedule an appointment at SouthTexasBlood.org/WeNeedYou or by calling 210-731-5590.
Staffers will work with you to ensure your blood goes the furthest. Maybe based on your type, you could give platelets or make a double red cell donation. Want to learn more about that, and why type matters? Click or tap here.
The blood center is even extending hours in this time of need, starting Thursday. The group aims to collect 2,400 donations over the next four days and 6,000 donations by the end of the year, Waltman said.
Regardless of the time of year, “The need is always there – once every four minutes, someone in South Texas needs blood," Waltman added.
The center provided some numbers, as well:
- 400: The number of donations STBTC requires every day to meet normal needs.
- 2,837: Donations so far in December.
- 3,519: Blood units sent to hospitals and clinics in December.
- 8,352: Increase in number of deliveries to area hospitals from 2018 to 2019.
Thinking you want to donate? Be prepared to show ID.
If you’re 16, you must have a signed form from your parent or guardian and weigh a minimum of 120 pounds.
Anyone 17 or older may donate and must be in general good health and weigh at least 110 pounds.
All donors are encouraged to eat well and adequately hydrate before and after donation. Refreshments and snacks are provided. You’ll also receive a wellness check.