Metro Health declares blood emergency

South Texas Blood & Tissue Center needing  2,000 donors to make up shortfall from weather closures

The unprecedented winter weather has left San Antonio and South Texas in a blood shortage emergency, with at least 2,000 donations lost by donor room closures and the cancellation of blood drives. 

San Antonio Metro Health on Tuesday declared a blood emergency in the city, meaning there is not enough blood on hand to treat trauma cases and patients who need emergency surgeries and procedures that require blood. 

The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, a subsidiary of nonprofit BioBridge Global, is asking donors to give when able to do so safely at its Donor Pavilion, Shavano Park and Northeast donor rooms. Those facilities are open during daylight hours Tuesday and Wednesday, but all blood drives have been canceled and the other donor rooms are not open. 

Same-day appointments and walk-in donations are being accepted. Donors can call 210-731-5590 for information or to make an appointment, or they can visit SouthTexasBlood.org. 

As the weather improves, the center expects to extend operating hours at all donor rooms Thursday-Sunday. 

All donors will receive a $20 Amazon gift card through Sunday, Feb. 21, as well as donor reward points. 

The center will be adding appointments this week as it works to rebuild the blood supply. All donors are asked to keep their appointments or call 210-731-5590 to reschedule and open a time for someone else to give. 

South Texas Blood & Tissue Center extending hours to make up nearly 3,000-donation deficit

Weather and power outages reduce donations, putting patients at risk

The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center will extend operating hours at its seven donor rooms beginning Friday as the weather improves in an attempt to make up more than 2,800 donations lost this week because of the severe winter weather.

San Antonio remains under a blood shortage emergency declared earlier this week by Metro Health. A blood shortage emergency means there is not enough blood on hand to treat trauma cases and patients who need emergency surgeries and procedures that require blood.

Hospitals are reporting that medical patients who are anemic are waiting for blood transfusions, while patients experiencing blood loss and in need of emergency surgery won’t be able to receive blood if the supply cannot be re-built.

With most mobile drives canceled this week and several donor rooms experiencing power outages, the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, a subsidiary of nonprofit BioBridge Global, was able to fill only about half the orders for blood from area hospitals since Sunday.

“As the weather improves, patients all across South Texas need their friends and neighbors to step up and give blood, because the demand will continue to exist for the weeks to come,” said Adrienne Mendoza, Vice President of Blood Services at the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center.

The seven donor rooms will open at these times:

  • 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 19
  • 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 20-21
  • 8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 22

Donors are urged to make appointments if conditions allow by calling 210-731-5590 or visiting SouthTexasBlood.org, but walk-in and same-day donations also are being accepted.

All donors will receive a $20 Amazon gift card through the end of the month as well as donor reward points. All donors are asked to keep their appointments or call 210-731-5590 to reschedule and open a time for someone else to give.

Donor room locations are available at SouthTexasBlood.org.

The shortage is part of a national issue – the winter storms have meant blood centers across the nation have lost more than 25,000 donations in February alone.

“These weather-related challenges come at a time when the nation’s blood supply was already strained,” the AABB, formerly the American Association of Blood Banks, said in a statement released Thursday. “Some blood centers are now reporting critically low inventories, and blood collection organizations across the country are working together to help meet the need as best they can.”