Emergency need for blood has led to a severe shortage of type O blood
Because of a sudden increase in emergency trauma cases which required substantial amounts of type O blood, South Texas hospitals are ordering more blood, putting a strain on the blood inventory for patients with blood disorders and cancers.
Blood shortages force medical professionals into serious decisions about conserving the available blood supply. South Texas Blood & Tissue, a subsidiary of San Antonio nonprofit BioBridge Global, currently has less than one day’s supply of type O blood.
The entire nation has continued to experience shortages, leaving nowhere to turn for additional blood. Type O blood is in the most demand because it is most often used in emergency situations.
Accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those undergoing treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease need transfusions on a regular basis.
Patients like Scott Mussey, who was in a farming accident that required him to receive multiple units of blood to save his life.
“I truly believe in my mind that blood transfusions made a difference in me being alive and here today,” said Scott. “If I didn’t receive blood that quickly, my thought is that I wouldn’t have made it, and if I did make it that I would have a lot more health complications than I do.”
South Texas Blood & Tissue needs the community’s help to fill available vacancies for donor appointments and to host blood drives to meet the local needs.
Blood donations at South Texas Blood & Tissue’s nine donor rooms and mobile drives need to reach 600 a day to meet patient needs and rebuild the depleted supply but are currently less than 400 per day.
“When we don’t have enough blood to send to hospitals, patients may have to wait for treatment and doctors will have to triage care,” said Adrienne Mendoza, COO of South Texas Blood & Tissue. “Donating blood is an easy way to make a huge impact.”
Donors can 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 seven donor rooms, as well as at community blood drives. Donors at least 17 years old (16 with parental consent) and in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.