'Critically low’ blood shortage in San Antonio continues

Elective surgeries could be on hold due to lack of donations

SAN ANTONIO – South Texas is continuing to fall short in receiving blood donations.

Representatives with the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center said they are still only one major trauma accident away from depleting its blood supply.

The center opened all of its donor rooms over the weekend due to the dire need.

“That’s scary,” Jason Nydegger, a blood donor, said. “It really is.”

Nydegger donates blood regularly and said it’s terrifying with how low the supply level got this week.

The low supply level prompted the STBTC and University Hospital to issue an emergency call for donations on Tuesday.

“At University Hospital, we are critically low at this point,” Leslie Greebon, executive chief of transfusion services at University Heath System, said. “If we continue to go down, we’ll have to consider canceling elective surgeries this week.”

Mary Uhlig, with the STBTC, calls what caused the shortage a ‘perfect storm.’

Help save a life during National Blood Donor Month with blood donations

She said the holiday season is always a difficult time to get donations, so the blood supply was already running low.

“At the same time, we’ve had a series, an unusual series of trauma situations in our local hospitals, that have used large supplies of blood really depleting our supply,” Uhlig said.

Earlier this past week when the emergency plea was sent out, STBTC had a goal of getting 2,160 donations by Saturday. However, it fell short of that goal by 100 donations, which is why the organization opened all seven of its donor rooms as early as 7:30 a.m. Sunday.

Nydegger, who donates every eight weeks, said it’s important to do your part because you’ll never know when you’ll be on the receiving end of those donations.

“You are putting it into your community,” Nydegger said. “We live in a community. We live as one organism, so that means it’s a give and take situation. Sometimes you are going to need it; other times other people are going to need it. Everybody needs to be giving what they can.”

KSAT12 is doing its part and has teamed up with our community partner University Health System for National Blood Donor Month.

The annual KSAT community blood drive with University Health System will be taking place Jan. 27 - Jan. 31 at three different University Health System locations.

You can find those locations and more information here.

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