SAN ANTONIO – South Texas is in need of blood donations as the region has hit a critical shortage level. Officials with the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center said Monday some surgeries are being postponed due to the shortage.
The supply of type-O blood is down to less than a day, and the community has an overall three-day supply.
“In late May, the community blood supply was over a 5-day supply. Today, our community blood supply could not adequately help if we had another devastating incident that required large amounts of blood transfusions,” said STBTC Communications Specialist Roger Ruiz.
Ruiz said blood donations are down overall this summer.
“Right now, we’re averaging probably about 300 to 350 donations a day,” said Ruiz. “We ideally would like to collect 600 units a day to accommodate all those hospitals and clinics that we serve.”
The blood and tissue center serves 48 counties and over a 100 hospitals and clinics in the area. The center hosted a blood drive at Christus Santa Rosa Medical Center on Tuesday to combat the shortage. Two more blood drives will be held this week.
“We need all blood types, but especially those of O- and O-positive,” said Ruiz. “O-negative is the red blood cell that can be transfused to anybody in an emergency. If we stopped collecting blood today, we would only have enough for just one day, for 24 hours, which is pretty scary.”
Willie Williams, the administrative director for Perioperative Services at Christus Santa Rosa Medical Center, described the current shortage as dire.
“It’s a dire emergency that we need that blood to be available on hand and ready to be issued out to our patients,” said Williams. “It impacts us the most is when we have those unplanned surgeries that do require a blood transfusion.”
Cancer patients and others with blood disorders also rely on donations for treatment.
“The cancer patients, the chemotherapy patients that require chronic blood transfusions because their blood counts are so low due to their treatments that they’re receiving. Some other patients that have other blood disorders that require frequent blood transfusions, and sometimes they’re chronic for several years,” said Williams, describing patients who need blood.
Ruiz added that a single blood donation can save three lives.
“We want to make sure that no patients should ever have to wait for blood,” said Ruiz.
“It’s a completely safe process. I’m a blood donor. I’ve been donating for years. Whenever I’m able to donate, it’s a great thing to do,” said Williams.
In addition to blood donors, the blood center is asking for platelet donors.
“Platelets are one of the major components of your blood that form clots and stop or prevent bleeding. More than 34% of the blood supply including platelets is used by patients battling cancer and other blood diseases. Cancer patients may need platelets due to anemia, low blood counts from treatments or blood loss during surgery. They are also essential for people who are suffering chronic diseases, receiving a transplant, undergoing surgeries, or have traumatic injuries,” Ruiz said.
Community Blood Drives
- Wednesday, July 27 - 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Center for Health Care Services, 6800 Park Ten Blvd.
- Friday, July 29 - 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at South Texas Renal Care Group, 215 N. Saba St.
Donors must be at least 17 years old, or 16 with parental consent, and in generally good health.
Donors can check online for additional blood drives or make an appointment with South Texas Blood & Tissue by calling 210-731-5590 or visiting SouthTexasBlood.org.
Same-day appointments and walk-ins are available at the center’s nine donor rooms, as well as at community blood drives.
Blood donor rooms:
- Boerne Donor Room - 215 W Bandera Rd Suite 115, Boerne, TX 78006, (210) 731-5590. Regular Hours: Mon, Wed | 10:30am - 6:30pm Tue, Thu-Sun | 9am - 5pm.
- Bulverde Donor Room - 20630 Hwy 46 W. Suite 115, Spring Branch, TX 78070, (210) 731-5555. Regular Hours: Mon, Wed | 10:30am - 6:30pmTue, Thu-Sun | 9am - 5pm
- Donor Pavilion - 6211 IH-10 West, San Antonio, TX 78201, (210) 731-5590. Regular Hours: Mon-Fri | 8:30am - 6:30pm Sat, Sun | 7am - 5pm.
- New Braunfels Donor Room - 51 North Business IH-35, Suite 830, New Braunfels, TX 78130, (210) 731-5590. Regular Hours: Mon, Wed | 10:30am - 6:30pm Tue, Thu-Sun | 9am - 5pm.
- Northeast Donor Room - 8500 Village Dr., Suite 102, San Antonio, TX 78217, (210) 731-5590. Regular Hours: Mon, Wed | 10:30am - 6:30pm Tue, Thu-Sun | 9am - 5pm.
- Shavano Donor Room - 4079 N. Loop 1604 West, Suite 102, San Antonio, TX 78257, (210) 731-5590, Regular Hours: Mon, Wed | 10:30am - 6:30pm Tue, Thu-Sun | 9am - 5pm.
- Southeast Donor Room - 3158 SE Military Dr., Suite 104, San Antonio, TX 78223, (210) 731-5590. Regular Hours: Mon, Wed | 10:30am - 6:30pm Tue, Thu-Sun | 9am - 5pm.
- Victoria - 1109 Sam Houston Dr., Victoria, TX 77901, 210) 731-5590. Regular Hours: Mon, Wed | 10:30am - 6:30pmTue, Thu-Sat | 9am - 5pm.
- Westover Hills Donor Room- 10555 Culebra Rd., Suite 107, San Antonio, TX 78251,(210) 731-5590. Regular Hours: Mon, Wed | 10:30am - 6:30pm Tue, Thu-Sun | 9am - 5pm.