Low levels require South Texas Blood and Tissue Center to import blood

holiday season brings desperate need for blood donations

SAN ANTONIO – The holiday season brings a desperate need for blood donations at the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center (STBTC).

“We needed to expand our refrigerators, our coolers, our hospital services area, to allow for more blood so we can support the community in need,” said STBTC spokesperson Francine Pina.

Pina explained that they normally see a decline in donors after the holidays. Weather is also a factor that impacts turnout.

“Right now we’re hovering at about a two-day supply. Ideally we’d like to see three, four or five, maybe even up to six days, which would be nice. But with the need right now, there’s always that constant need,” Pina said.

STBTC has had to import blood from other community blood centers recently to meet the demand when their supplies run low. The imported blood allows them to continue serving local patients who need transfusions for conditions like cancer, surgery recovery, or childbirth complications.

If supplies get low enough, medical professionals have to decide who gets blood and who doesn’t.

“We do have a medical director, a physician on staff who works with medical directors and physicians on staff at local hospitals where they triage orders. They determine what blood needs to get sent, where and who receives it,” Pina explained.

Ideally, STBTC likes to keep a three- to five-day supply on hand to be prepared for any situation. But the post-holiday slump in donations has left their shelves bare.

Anthony Martinez, a donor, urges community members to give blood.

“You never know when you or your families may need some. So, it’s the way to give back,” he said.

Martinez’s message is simple: “Just go out there and donate...let’s keep this running.”

About the Authors

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.

Recommended Videos