Blood center needs 600 donations today to fill hospital orders

Orders from area hospitals to South Texas Blood & Tissue Center double, depleting inventory
January 8, 2020

The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center (STBTC) needs 600 donations today or area hospitals may be forced to cancel some surgeries tomorrow, said Elizabeth Waltman, chief operating officer of the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center.

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“We can’t wait for someone else to step up – it’s time for Texans to help Texans,” Waltman said.

The blood center announced Tuesday that 2,160 donations were needed by Friday to meet the needs of patients in South Texas. Only 261 donations were made on Tuesday, short of goal, while orders from hospitals jumped to more than 1,300 units of blood and platelets, more than twice the normal number. There were less than 500 units on the shelf to fill those orders.

“We’re hearing that many regular donors are unable to give blood, whether because of flu, or severe allergies, or other illnesses, and donor deferral rates are up at many of our blood drives,” Waltman said. “With the demand for blood up due to higher trauma volume and hospital census counts, many area hospitals are working to re-build their inventories.”

South Texas is not alone in the need. Communities across the nation are facing blood shortages. STBTC has reached out to blood banks across the country to continue to provide blood to South Texas patients. But none is available, Waltman said.

All blood types are needed, but the demand is especially high for type O-negative blood because it can be used for any patient in an emergency. Orders from South Texas hospitals for O-negative blood increased 17% in 2019.

Donors can schedule an appointment at SouthTexasBlood.org/WeNeedYou. But walk-in donations are always welcome, and the center also extended hours at donor rooms. Donors can call 210-731-5590 with any questions about eligibility or where to donate.

Anyone wishing to donate blood must present identification. Donors age 16 must have a signed parental consent form and weigh at least 120 pounds. Anyone over the age of 17 may donate and must be in general good health and weigh at least 110 pounds. All donors are asked to eat well and adequately hydrate before and after donation. Refreshments and snacks are provided, and all donor receive a wellness check. Learn about blood donation at SouthTexasBlood.org.