South Texas blood donations increasing, but large deficit remains

South Texas’ blood supply not yet recovered from winter storm disaster

While South Texans have stepped up by the thousands to donate blood since last week’s winter weather, patient needs continue to outpace donations. The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center continues to work closely with local and area hospitals to manage the limited blood supply:

  • Last week’s severe weather and power outages meant South Texas Blood & Tissue began this week with a deficit of almost 3,000 blood donations.  
  • More than 2,000 units were collected from Friday, Feb. 19 though Monday, Feb. 22.
  • But hospital orders for blood are still outnumbering donations. On Monday the center sent out 120 more units of blood than it collected.
  • Over the weekend, a single trauma patient needed 100 units of type O blood.
  • A patient receiving a heart transplant and one with serious bleeding required 60 units of blood on Tuesday, Feb. 23. On the same day, another hospital asked for 60 units for another patient with serious bleeding and 30 units for a liver transplant patient.
  • Orders for blood continue to run higher than in February of 2020. Blood inventory remains at the critical level with only a half-day supply of type O blood, which is most needed in emergencies. San Antonio remains under a blood shortage emergency declared last week by Metro Health.

Community blood drives have been added and more appointments opened at South Texas Blood & Tissue Center donor rooms. Additionally, operating hours have been extended at the Donor Pavilion, located at 6211 IH 10 West at First Park Ten Boulevard, on Friday and Saturday. Donors can make an appointment with the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center by calling 210-731-5590 or visiting SouthTexasBlood.org. Same-day appointments are available at the center’s seven donor rooms, as well as at community blood drives.

The center also will be accepting walk-in donors as space allows.

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.”

Join Joe Posada for first-ever Couch Potato Ball

Event sponsored by The Blood & Tissue Center Foundation to benefit COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund

Three-time Grammy Award-winner musician Joe Posada, a COVID-19 survivor and convalescent plasma donor, will be the headliner at the first-ever Couch Potato Ball on Friday, Dec. 11 at 6:30 p.m.

The stay-at-home virtual gala is sponsored by The Blood & Tissue Center Foundation, with proceeds to benefit the organization’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. The Foundation raises funds and awareness for the San Antonio-based BioBridge Global family of nonprofits, which includes the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, QualTex Laboratories and GenCure.

Donations will assist with the extra costs associated with the promotion and operational expenses (including supplies) needed to host blood drives at large-scale venues allowing for proper social distancing. Donations also assist with efforts to create, recruit donors for and expand the convalescent plasma program. Convalescent plasma has been collected by the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center since the spring of 2020, for transfusion to those fighting severe cases of COVID-19.

Tickets for the virtual event and prize drawings are available at BloodnTissueFoundation.org/ball.

Each event ticket includes:

  • A $20 gift card from Pizza Hut
  • A specially designed Couch Potato Ball T-shirt
  • A holiday jazz concert by Joe Posada

Tickets for three prize packages, each valued at more than $1,500, are available on the website as well. All ticket sales end Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 11:30 p.m.

The concert is sponsored by the City of San Antonio Aviation Department as part of its SAT Live Performing Arts program, which in recent months has helped area nonprofits spread awareness and connect potential donors to their mission.

Posada will include some of his own story, since he and his wife both contracted COVID-19 and she was given a convalescent plasma transfusion during her hospitalization. Both have recovered and have gone on to donate convalescent plasma.

A native of San Antonio, Posada is known for his fusion of jazz and Tejano music. He is the founder and CEO of his own record label, Baby Dude Records, has produced multiple albums every year since its inception in 2004, as well as earning nine consecutive Grammy and Latin Grammy nominations.

His first Latin Grammy came in 2012 for “Algo esta Pasando.” Other honors include 2005 Tejano R.O.O.T.S. Hall of Fame inductee, seven Tejano Music Awards, eight Academy of Tejano Artists & Musicians Awards, 2008 Premios a la Música Latina “Best Latin Jazz Trio,” 2013 Latin Grammy with David Lee Garza’s “Just Friends,” and 2014 Latin Grammy with Jimmy Gonzalez’s “Forever Mazz.”