Community asked to give blood as patient needs outstrip donations

South Texas Blood & Tissue Center extends hours, offers ‘dinner and a movie’ to boost blood supply
August 23, 2019
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With blood donations over the next week projected to meet only about 50 percent of the need, the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center (STBTC) is asking the community to help ensure that blood is available for patients.

“We’re working to avoid a situation that could force hospitals to postpone some blood transfusions, and that could leave our community vulnerable to larger trauma events that require multiple units of blood,” said Elizabeth Waltman, Chief Operating Officer of South Texas Blood & Tissue Center.

 “While blood use is up in our service area, donations have declined, especially over the past week,” she said. “As a result we’ve seen the amount of blood available on some days dip to as low as a half-day’s supply. We’ve reached out to other blood centers, but communities across the country continue to see blood shortages and are facing emergency appeals of their own.”

STBTC is asking the community to help bring in about 515 donations a day to replenish the blood supply, or a total of 4,100 blood donations by the end of the month, before the Labor Day holiday. STBTC normally aims to collect 400 donations a day to meet the demand for blood to treat trauma victims, patients undergoing cancer treatments, those scheduled for surgery, newborns and their mothers, and many other patients.

To encourage additional donations, STBTC is extending donor room hours tonight and over the weekend, and will open all donor rooms on Sunday.  All six donor rooms in San Antonio and New Braunfels will remain open until 6:30 p.m. tonight, and will be open from 7 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.  

Donors will take home a special “dinner and a movie” thank-you gift through the end of August, including a free movie ticket to Alamo Drafthouse and other theaters, along with a coupon good for a free two-piece chicken meal plus tea from Bill Miller when they donate at a STBTC donor room or mobile blood drive.  

Donors can find the closest STBTC location or mobile blood drive by visiting SouthTexasBlood.org/WeNeedYou or calling 210-731-5590.

Anyone wishing to donate blood must present identification. 16-year-old donors must have a signed parental consent form and weigh at least 120 pounds. Anyone over the age of 17 may donate and must be in general good health and weigh at least 110 pounds. All donors are encouraged to eat well and adequately hydrate before and after donation. Refreshments and snacks are provided to donors. In addition, all donors receive a wellness check. Learn more about blood donation at SouthTexasBlood.org.

In addition to donors, STBTC also is looking for organizations that would like to sponsor blood drives. They can contact the center at 210-731-5590.