Video, infographic explain 24-hour process of collecting, testing, processing and distributing blood donations

Timeline illustrates why it’s critical to have blood on the shelves before disaster strikes, especially during the holidays when blood donations decline
December 14, 2017

It’s a common response following natural disasters, mass casualties and other tragedies: The need for blood spurs donors to line up at blood centers across the country.

But what’s required to get those donations to patients who need them?

The answers are in a new infographic and accompanying video produced by BioBridge Global, the parent organization of the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center (STBTC).

“Donor to Patient: 24 Hours to Save a Life” demonstrates the process from the donation, when about a pint is collected from a donor, through processing, testing and delivery for transfusion. As the title implies, the process from donation to availability for patients takes about 24 hours.

“No matter what the circumstances, we have to follow the same steps with all donations,” said Elizabeth Waltman, chief operating officer of the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center. “That’s why it’s important that we have donations all the time, so blood is available on the shelves before emergencies happen or disasters strike. Donations after a crisis play an important role as well, helping blood centers re-stock inventory to meet ongoing patient needs.”

Donors who come forward when blood supplies are low – usually over the summer months, and again during November and December – help make sure blood is available for all needs, including ongoing use for cancer patients, new mothers and premature babies, surgery patients and accident victims.

All blood donations with STBTC are tested by its sister organization, QualTex Laboratories, which also does blood and blood product testing for organizations across the country. Both organizations follow guidelines established by multiple governmental entities, especially the Food and Drug Administration, to make sure donations are safe and ready to use as soon as possible in a crisis, while helping to maintain a regular supply for everyday use.

The infographic and the video show how the organizations:

Follow guidelines established by the Food and Drug Administration
Separate donations into three parts, with different therapeutic uses
Test blood for multiple diseases
Deliver blood products to hospitals and clinics

Both the video and the infographic are available at