Appointments to donate blood drop during spring break
Patients across South Texas are needing blood transfusions at record levels, while donations have dropped in the last week because of spring break.
The result: Serious risk for a healthcare crisis.
“Between multiple heart surgeries, a liver transplant, a pediatric heart transplant and an increase in trauma cases, we’re looking at less than a day’s supply for some blood types,” said Adrienne Mendoza, Vice President, Blood Operations at the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, which is a subsidiary of San Antonio nonprofit BioBridge Global.
“Hospitals are running full surgery schedules, and those additional demands are on top of the regular need for transfusions for cancer patients, new mothers and their babies.”
Without more donations, the center will have to work with hospitals and decide on which transfusions to delay because of the blood shortage.
Appointments open this weekend
The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center has dozens of appointments available this weekend at its Donor Pavilion donor room at 6211 Interstate 10 West at First Park Ten Boulevard, as well as a handful of community blood drives. Donors can call 210-731-5590 or visit SouthTexasBlood.org to make an appointment. Same-day donations are welcome.
This week, the center has:
- Sent out almost 500 units of blood a day – almost 45% more than normal
- Seen appointments to donate blood drop by 50 to 100 a day because of the disruption of schedules from spring break
- Struggled to fill almost 200 open appointments a day
COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t affect blood donation
Donors also may be confused about their eligibility to give blood if they have received a COVID-19 vaccination, said Dr. Samantha Gomez Ngamsuntikul, Associate Medical Director at the blood center.
“The truth: You’re eligible to donate blood right away after receiving any of the three vaccines currently available – Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson,” she said.
Critical need for type O blood
The need is particularly critical for type O blood, which in an emergency can be transfused to most patients. The center has less than one day’s supply of both O-positive and O-negative blood types.
All presenting donors can take home as thank-you gifts a $10 Amazon gift card and points in the South Texas Blood & Tissue Donor Store. All donations will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies as well, with results posted to the donor’s online profile.